• 12 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
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Personal profile

Research Interests

Muslim Women; British Islam; Islamic Feminisms; Digital Methodologies; Religion or Belief Diversity; ‘Non-religious’ beliefs in Britain



Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor is a Feminist Sociologist of Religion. Her research focuses on the lived experiences of religion or belief in modern Britain, with particular emphasis on Islam, Muslim women's experiences of faith, inter-faith relations and democratic methodologies that seek to work with and for research participants. She has previous worked at the Universities of Derby and Gloucestershire.

She completed her fully-funded PhD at the University of Gloucestershire in 2010. Her doctoral research entailed a feminist giving of voice to young Muslim women in Britain. She began her post-doctoral career at the University of Derby as Project Researcher and Qualitative Lead on a three-year AHRC and ESRC Religion and Society programme project, Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice, 2000-2010. She subsequently led her own ESRC funded project on Collaborative Partnerships between Muslim institutions and HE.


Her recent research projects include:

“Muslim Children in the Care System” - Funded by: Department for Education through Penny Appeal (£31,000), December 2016 to November 2017; PI: Dr S Cheruvallil-Contractor; Co-I: Savita deSouza (CoramBAAF)

 “Muslim Women in Britain c. 1890 to 1948: Historical Grounding for Modern Debates” - Funded by: BA/Leverhulme Small Grant (£9222), April 2016 to March 2018; PI: Dr S Cheruvallil-Contractor

 “Re/presenting Islam on campus: gender, radicalisation and interreligious understanding in British higher education” - Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (£568,727), October 2016 to September 2018; PI: Prof A Scott-Baumann (SOAS); Co-Is: Dr Mathew Guest (Durham) and Dr Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster); Named Research Fellow: Dr S Cheruvallil-Contractor

“Muslim Identities Literature Review” to inform the Louise Casey report to the British Prime Minister on Isolated Communities - April to May 2016, Funded by: Home Office Consultancy (£9300); PI: Dr S Cheruvallil-Contractor


She is honoured to be supervising the following doctoral students and welcomes expressions of interest from potential future students:

Ola Alkhanout who is researching how zakat may be used humanitarian purposes and peacebuilding, focusing on Qatar as a case study

Jennifer Verson who is exploring how performance may be used for inter-faith peace-building

Meryem Abdelhafid who is studying the lived experiences of Algerian women in Britain

Hafza Iqbal who is looking into lived experiences of Sufism in Britain

Samra Mursaleen who is critically examining the impact in Britain of Pakistani Muslim Scholar Dr Tahir Ul Qadri's scholarship


Area of Expertise: Islam in Britain, Islamic Feminism, Muslim women, Muslim movements, Sufism, Lived Religion, Digital Methodologies and Inter-faith Relations in Britain

Vision Statement

I am inspired by the everyday lives, experiences and conversations of people. In our society, popular metanarratives around immigration, radicalisation and austerity seem to suggest that our communities are ‘broken’. Yet in examining the everyday, it seems that ordinary people are contributing much more to the resilience of British communities than media narratives would have us believe – they are not just fostering tolerance of the different other, but are establishing relationships of respect, trust and equality. As a sociologist specialising in the study of lived religion, I believe it is imperative to examine the issues and problems that underpin the disconnections within our societies. But I believe it is probably even more important to uncover what communities and individuals are already doing to find shared space, common values and practical solutions. At CTPSR, I hope to be able to do this - to find solutions and to recognise the good practice within our communities, to replicate this in policy and practice, and to thus advance social justice and equality in Coventry, Britain and beyond.

Education/Academic qualification

Sociology of Religion, University of Gloucestershire


External positions

Visiting Fellow, Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences


  • BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
  • Islam in Britain
  • Muslim Women
  • Islamic Feminism
  • Sufism
  • Lived Religion
  • HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
  • Muslim Women
  • Islamic Feminism
  • Children in Care
  • Adoption
  • Foster Care

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2018 2020

Research Output 2013 2020

  • 12 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
  • 5 Chapter
  • 4 Article
  • 1 Anthology or Edited Book
  • 1 Book

The Politics of Being Muslim and Female: Religion, Feminism and Hierarchies of Knowledge

Cheruvallil-Contractor, S., 2020, Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics. 3 ed. Routledge, Vol. (In-press). p. (In-press)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

political theory
group discussion
religious freedom
human rights

Religious organizations and the impact of human rights and equality laws in England and Wales

Purdam, K., Cheruvallil-Contractor, S., Ghanea, N. & Weller, P., 2017, In : Politics, Religion and Ideology. 18, 1, p. 73-88 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

An Islamic perspective: what does Islam offer to the contemporary debate

Scott-Baumann, A. & Cheruvallil-Contractor, S., 2016, The Universities we Need: Theological perspectives on the universities needed for today’s world.. Heap, S. (ed.). Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 124-142

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

World Religions
Religious Texts

Activities 2014 2017

  • 11 Participation in conference
  • 2 Visiting an external academic institution

Muslims in Britain Research Network Day Seminar

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Visiting researcher)
1 Aug 2017

Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

Fourth Annual Conference of the British Association for Islamic Studies

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Speaker)
12 Apr 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Visiting researcher)
4 Aug 20177 Aug 2017

Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

Sociology of Religion Study Group (SocRel) Annual Conference 2017

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Speaker)
14 Jan 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference