Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor


    Accepting PhD Students

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research Interests

    Muslim Women; British Islam; Digital Religion; ‘Non-religion’; Children in Care; Minoritisation; Methodology


    Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor is Professor in the Sociology of Islam at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK. She is Chair (2020-2025) of the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN) and is editor of the Review of Social and Scientific Study of Religion.

    Her research emphasises collaborative methodologies that work with and for research participants. As a feminist sociologist of religion, she has a keen interest and appreciation of the power dynamics within knowledge production and the implications of the processes and systems of knowledge on society as a whole.

    Her portfolio of research critically interrogates how we ‘do’ knowledge while also giving voice to lesser-heard and harder-to-reach sections in society. Feminist, Pragmatist and Decolonising methodologies are central to her methods toolkit. Her research has been funded by the AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy and a number of UK foundations and charities (total value c. £2.9 million). Her publications include Muslim Women in Britain: Demystifying the Muslimah (Routledge 2012), Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts (Bloomsbury 2013), Islamic Education in Britain: New Pluralist Paradigms (Bloomsbury 2015), Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion (Bloomsbury 2015), Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education (OUP 2020), Muslim Women in Britain, 1850 to 1950: 100 Years of Hidden History (Hurst 2023), a number of journal articles, book chapters and mass-media articles. 

    Her work has evolved through partnership with a number of civil society organisation including the Peace Train Foundation, Penny Appeal, Together in Action Trust (Coventry), Coventry Sacred Space, CoramBAAF and others. She welcomes every opportunity to ensure that her research is relevant to everyday lives.

    In her spare time she travels, bakes, tries to garden by not killing her plants and writes poetry.

    Her ongoing externally-funded research projects include:

    • Principal Investigator | AHRC GCRF Minorities on Campus in India (2020-2022)
    • Principal Investigator | HLF Uncovering the Legacy of Black Social Workers: Between the Personal, the Professional and the Political (2023-2024)
    • Principal Investigator | Nuffield Foundation Expressions of Self: Care-Experienced Children’s Narratives of Intersectional Identity (2022-2023)
    • Co-Investigator | CHANSE Digital Islam Across Europe (2022-2025)
    • Co-Investigator | ESRC Digital British Islam (2022-2025)
    • Co-Investigator | Rethinking Security Alternative Security Review (2021-2022)
    • Director of Studies: AHRC M4C | Uncovering the History of Inter-religious Relations in Post-War Coventry (2021 – 2025)


    PhD Students

    She learns from and is inspired by the scholarship that her doctoral students produce and welcomes expressions of interest from potential future students:


    1. Dr Jennifer Verson used performance for inter-faith peace-building
    2. Dr Ola Alkahloutproblematised lived experiences of Zakat in Contemporary Qatar
    3. Dr Samra Mursaleen interrogated the impact in Britain of Pakistani Muslim Scholar Dr Tahir Ul Qadri's scholarship on preventing violent extremism
    4. Dr Hafza Iqbal produced original theorisation around Islamic Practical Theology, in the context of contemporary and hybrid British Sufisms
    5. Dr Shilpa Kunti explored South Asian women's experiences of trauma and accessing support services


    Current Students

    1. Meryem Abdelhafid is showcasing the lived experiences and feminism of religious Algerian women, living in Britain
    2. Eko Nur Cahyo is examining the meaning of management and good governance of Waqf in the context of Islamic Education in Indonesia
    3. Imam Pamungas questions how Islamic Education can challenge radical narratives of Islam
    4. Leli Lismay is decolonising English, for Islamic Studies teaching in Indonesia
    5. Ulya Fuhaidah is demystifying Salafism in Jambi
    6. Dinesh Passi is uncovering the history of South Asian migrants and inter-religious relations in post-War Coventry
    7. Alfi Abdurrahman is thinking about ethical forms of Islamic Leadership


    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.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
    • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

    Education/Academic qualification

    Sociology of Religion, Muslim Women in Britain: Demystifying the Muslimah, University of Gloucestershire


    Award Date: 30 Nov 2010

    External positions

    Chair, Muslims in Britain Research Network


    Member, CoramBAAF Black and Minority Ethnic Advisory Committee (BMEPAC)

    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


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