Dr Samantha May
Dr Samantha May is a lecturer in the department of Politics and International Relations. She completed her AHRC funded doctorate at the University of Aberdeen in 2011 on Islamist ideologies and practices.
Dr May was awarded the Student Choice 'Most Inspirational Lecturer' of the Year Award for 2016 and 'Best Lecturer' award in 2014.. She was also nominated for the College of Arts and Social Sciences teaching exellence award for 2015 and 2014.
Broadly, my research interests lay within the relationship between politics and religion with a particular focus upon Political Islam and Islamist movements.
Currently I am researching the political and economic role of zakat and Islamic charity within the U.K and the consequences and challenges posed by recent changes within U.K charity law. Previous research was primarily concerned with Political Islam within the Middle East, in particular Hamas and Hizbullah. The focus of my research is the memory and legacy of Imperial non-Western political polities as an alternative to the Westphalian nation-state and the challenges they pose to current dominating ideas of territory, identity and economic practice.
Currently I have just completed research for a Leverhulme funded project entitled: 'Zakat in the UK: Islamic Giving, Citizenship and Government Policy' which builds upon a previous British Academy pilot project entitled 'Identifying Political and Transnational Dimensions of Pious Alms Giving (zakat) in the United Kingdom' which aims to identify the national and transnational motivations of religious charitable giving by close case studies in London and Bradford. Of particular interest is the system of welfare embedded in pious alms giving as a foundation of societal organisation and community cohesion which is simultaneously national and transnational and a vital component to constructing a British Islamic identity.
Findings shed light on contemporary understandings of British Muslim citizenship and identity and alternative economic systems to both capitalism and socialism.
Co-editor of a special edition for the journal Politics, Ideology and Religion entitled "The Religious as Political and the Political as Religious: Globalization, Post-secularism and the Shifting Boundaries of the Sacred", which is an interdisciplinary collection of works examining the integral relationship between religion and politics within a post-secular framework.
May, S. and Sheikh, F. “Remembering the umma in the Confines of the Nation-State”, in Garnett, J. (ed.) Religion in Diaspora: Culture of Citizenship, Palgrave.
Funding and Grants
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship
Course Coordinator: Political Islam: Ideologies and Practices.
Team Lecturer for: Global Politics: Equality and Inequality
Course Coordinator: Religion, Conflict and Security.
Team Lecturer for: International Political Economy: Theory and Themes
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Islamic Charity: How Charitable Giving Became Seen as a Threat to National SecurityZed Books, London. 197 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
The Implications of Financial Legislation on Charities: The Case of Al-BarakaatThe Forum blog, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 28-29Contributions to Journals: Articles
Islamic Charitable Giving in the UK: A ‘Radical’ Economic Alternative?New Political Economy, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 913-625Contributions to Journals: Articles
"The Best of Deeds": The Practice of Zakat in the UKJournal of Church and State, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 200-221Contributions to Journals: Articles
The Rise of the “Resistance Axis”: Hezbollah and the Legacy of the Taif AccordsNationalism and Ethnic Politics, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 115-132Contributions to Journals: Articles
Are we really seeing the rise of a ‘new jihad’?The ConversationContributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
Remembering the Umma in the Confines of the Nation StateReligion in Diaspora. Garnett, J., Hausner, S. L. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 80-99, 19 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Sharia and the Making of the Modern Egyptian: Islamic Law and Custom in the Courts of Ottoman CairoPolitics Religion and Ideology, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 474-476Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
The Religious as Political and the Political as Religious: Globalisation, Post-Secularism and the Shifting Boundaries of the SacredPolitics Religion and Ideology, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 331-346Contributions to Journals: Articles
God’s Land: Blurring the National and the Sacred in Waqf TerritoryPolitics Religion and Ideology, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 421-441Contributions to Journals: Articles
Self-Immolations in Tibet and China – 2013 Update: Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Tibet, Briefing Paper No.5Commissioned by Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet. Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tibet. 13 pagesBooks and Reports: Commissioned Reports
Political Piety: The Politicization of ZakatMiddle East Critique, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 149-164Contributions to Journals: Articles