• Arabic language and Islamic Studies: who studies Arabic and how can these skills be used at university and beyond?

      Scott-Baumann, Alison; Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya; University of Derby (Higher Education Academy (HEA), 2012-03)
      This work was undertaken in 2011-12 as the result of successful competitive bidding for research funds from the subject centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS). Learning a modern foreign language in UK has declined, yet the learning of Arabic is rising. Furthermore HEFCE designates Arabic as a Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subject (SIVS). This is important as it implies greater resources and support for Arabic courses. Although Classical Arabic previously had a code, the SIVS status of Arabic has increased its visibility and has led to four new codes for Arabic Language Studies, Modern Standard Arabic and related subjects in HESA’s latest JACS 3 listing (September 2011). We hypothesised that there is more Arabic language interest and competence among Islamic Studies students than is currently apparent in the university sector and in the independent Muslim institution sector, and found persuasive evidence for our hypothesis: moreover, we found that if the Arabic experience is neither assessed nor accredited this may represent missed career opportunities for such students. We explored possible relationships between students’ prior Arabic competence and Arabic language courses at Islamic Studies and other departments within UK universities. This study recognises the significance of Arabic language studies that students undertake in Muslim institutions such as Darul Ulooms, Madaris (singular madrassa), Muslim schools and Muslim HE colleges. It suggests that collaborations between Muslim institutions and universities could lead to cross fertilisation of curricula and pedagogy and staff exchanges. Furthermore, recognising students’ prior learning of Arabic could be beneficial to students, who would have options to enhance their skills and career opportunities, and also to universities who would have access to an increased cohort of potential students.
    • How to build bridges between universities and Muslim colleges in Britain with partnerships and curricula

      Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya; Scott-Baumann, Alison; University of Derby (Higher Education Academy (HEA) Islamic Studies Network (ISN), 2012-07-04)
      Within Britain there are demands for better, more inclusive understanding of Islam and the West. Internationally there are major changes afoot in the Arab world and it is likely that these changes will have a significant impact on British Muslims, who hold loyalties to the umma (the world wide Muslim community) as well as their allegiances to Britain. It is difficult to predict what form this impact will take, but all the more necessary to ensure that proper channels for inter-community and interfaith dialogue and debate are open. Over the last five years we have worked on three approaches to improving practical understanding in British higher education between Islamic and secular cultures; first, looking at partnerships between Muslim colleges and mainstream universities (Mukadam et al 2010); secondly, working with Muslim women to develop modules that can be taught within mainstream courses (Cheruvallil-Contractor and Scott-Baumann 2011) and thirdly, investigating the health of Arabic teaching in Britain (Scott-Baumann and Cheruvallil-Contractor 2012).
    • Learning from experience leading to engagement: for a Europe of religion and belief diversity

      Weller, Paul; Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya; University of Derby (CEJI, 2012-10-18)
    • 'Marginalisation or an opportunity for dialogue: exploring the Hijab as a discursive symbol of the identity of young Muslim women

      Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya; University of Derby (Continuum Publishing Corporation, 2011-04-21)
      This volume is centred around the theme of veiling in Islam and provides multifarious aspects of the discussion regarding veiling of Muslim women, especially in the West. The issue of veiling has been intensively debated in Western society and has implications for religious liberty, inter-communal relationships and cultural interaction. Islam and the Veil seeks to generate open and objective discussion of this highly important, though controversial, subject, with contributions from distinguished scholars and academics, including female practitioners of Islam. This subject has inflamed passions and generated heated debate in the media in recent years, particularly in the West. This book aims to look at the historical background, theological and social factors underlying the veiling of women in Islam. Such discussion will provide the reader with a well-balanced and unbiased analysis of this important aspect of Islamic practice.
    • Muslim women in Britain: demystifying the Muslimah

      Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya; University of Derby, Centre for Society, Religion & Belief (Routledge, 2012-07)
      Perceptions of Muslim women in Western society have been shaped by historical and sociological conditions such as colonialism, patriarchy and Orientalism. In Muslim Women in Britain, Sariya Contractor seeks to reinstate the Muslimah as a storyteller who tells her own story. An exploration of the lives of British Muslim women, this book examines issues of femininity, Britishness, inter-communal relations and social cohesion. Presenting the reader with incisive narratives of Muslim women on familiar topics such as the hijab, Muslim women in the media and feminist debate, particularly in a Western context, Sariya Contractor makes a valuable contribution to the existing literature on Islamic studies, social anthropology, feminist philosophy and social cohesion. Presenting a complex and nuanced retelling of Muslim women’s realities as explored through their own voices, stories and experiences; this book will be of interest to scholars and students of Islamic studies, Women’s studies, Social Anthropology and Sociology seeking a fresh perspective on Muslim women in Britain.