Our research

Reflecting our diverse research culture, Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies staff are involved in a range of research groups and centres, including:

  • Arabic Language teaching and pedagogy
  • Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam
  • Language, Literature and Translation Studies Research Group 
  • The Centre for Translation Studies
  • Religion, Culture and Societies Research Group 
  • World Literatures Research Group 
  • Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism Group
  • Leeds Voices: Communicating Superdiversity in the Market
  • Water@Leeds
  • Laz [Interesting Minority Language in Turkey] Study Group
  • Language at Leeds
  • University of Leeds Academic Skills Network
  • Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE)


  • Collaboration with United Bible Societies’ translators on the impact of old Arabic versions of the Bible on contemporary versions
  • Decolonial Friday Prayer: anti-apartheid activist and scholar, Imam Dr Shahid Mathee, University of Johannesburg
  • The Battle of Algiers: From ‘Yesterday’s Mujahiddin’ to today’s Postcolonial Classroom. A screening and symposium, hosted by Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures (CWCDC) and the Iqbal Centre
  • Islamic culture in school education and museums exhibition of Islamic texts
  • Critical Muslim Studies and Decolonial ‘Methodologies’ Workshop: A Practical Guide. Centre for Ethnicity & Racism Studies and Iqbal Centre
  • Shakespeare in Arabic talk given to the general public and people working in education, e.g. a talk in Ilkley Literature Festival, and cultural enrichment session given to teachers of English at the North London Collegiate School. (Sameh Hannah)
  • Black Live Matter: Bilal and the formation of the early Islamicate. This was a collaboration between the Iqbal Centre, CERS, Re-Orient: Journal for Critical Muslim Studies, Leeds ABSoc and Leeds ISoc.
  • The Amimiyyah Seminars. Weekly programme of seminars piloting an innovative "critical madrasa curriculum", taught in the safe-space of the University to a mixed group of male and female students.
  • A Theology of Tolerance: Amimul Ehsan’s Ecumenism. This event reintroduced the Bengali community to the Bengali visionary Mufti Amimul Ihsan.
  • Sadler Seminars: Schooling Islam: Criticality, Identity and Change.

Research projects

The Documentation and Ethnolinguistic Analysis of Modern South Arabian
Leverhulme Trust funded Project 
Principle Investigator: Professor Janet Watson
Project Duration: Jan. 2013-Dec. 2016

Oman Mountains Project: The Compilation of an Encyclopaedic and Interdisciplinary Atlas of all Oman Mountains 
Office of the Advisor to H.M. the Sultan for Economic Planning Affairs funded Project
Co-Investigator (leading linguistic entries): Professor Janet Watson
Project Duration: 2013-2018 

From Over-Estimation to Under-Estimation: The Trajectory of Political Islam in 5 MENA Countries
Gerda Henkel Foundation funded Project
Co-Investigator: Dr Hendrik Kraetzschmar 
Project Duration: 2011-2014

Natural Language Processing Working Together with Arabic and Islamic Studies
EPSRC funded Project
Project Leader: Professor James Dickins 
Project Duration: 2013-2015

Media, Conflict and Democratisation Research Project
EU FP-7 funded Project
Team Member: Dr Hendrik Kraetzschmar 
Project Duration: 2014-2016

The British Council Arabic Language Teaching Research Project 
British Council Funded Project
Principal Investigator: Professor James Dickins 
The project is undertaken with collaboration between the Universities of Leeds, Edinburgh and Goldsmith.
The University of Leeds members are Dr Rasha Soliman, Dr Ruba Khamam, Miss Melissa Towler, Dr Ahmed El-Gindy, Dr Hanem El-Farahaty, Dr El Mustapha Lahlali, Dr Sameh Hanna Soliman, and Dr Samar El-Afandi

Explore our projects for more details about our past and present research activity.

Academic team

Explore our profiles for more information about our academic team.