Dr Samantha May

Dr Samantha May
Dr Samantha May
Dr Samantha May

Senior Lecturer

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272720
Office Address

F69 Edward Wright Building

School of Social Sciences

University of Aberdeen

School of Social Science


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.


Research Overview

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.

Current Research

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


Teaching Responsibilities


Course Coordinator: Political Islam: Ideologies and Practices.

Team Lecturer for: Global Politics: Equality and Inequality


Taught Masters:

Course Coordinator: Religion, Conflict and Security.

Team Lecturer for: International Political Economy: Theory and Themes


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications