The funding will enable Professor Spellman Poots to engage with British Shia Muslim youth in order to better understand how they negotiate a sense of self and belonging in western secular society. Where attention has been given to Shias in the UK, it usually focuses on Shias in London. By researching Shias in Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester, Professor Spellman Poots hopes to redress this balance. She plans to visit schools and the work place in order to see how Shia traditions and rituals are interpreted and put into practice in the public domain; she will also visit prisons to speak to Shia inmates and chaplains.
This project builds on earlier work by Professor Spellman Poots, including her 2005 book Religion and Nation: Iranian Local and Transnational Networks in London, and complements her University Research Council grant for her research project on Shia Muslims in the West. The 18-month project will begin in early 2012.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations