Hi, thanks for visiting my website.
I am an independent scholar based in Perth, Scotland with research interests in the areas of multiculturalism, religious and cultural diversity, and contemporary society. I am also very interested in the changing landscape of higher eduction, academic life, and the sharing of knowledge.
A few years ago I lost my job as Principal of a small HE college. This experience was very painful, but it has given me the opportunity to think a lot about what I am doing and how I would like to apply my writing and my academic work to the world in which I live.
I am not currently employed at any university or college, I work independently, and I am associated with the Ronin Institute (a new organisation for similar independent academics).
I am a social anthropologist by training (at the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh) but I have worked in the study of religion and culture for most of my professional career: at King’s College London, the University of Stirling, and at the Al-Maktoum College, Dundee, and I was Honorary Professor of Multiculturalism at the University of Aberdeen from 2004-2012.
I have authored three books:
- Religion the Basics (with Routledge), which I am currently revising for a third edition in 2015
- Multiculturalism and Minority Religions in Britain in 2001
- A Place for our Gods in 1996
I co-authored with a colleague (Abd al-Fattah El-Awaisi) a report titled Time for Change on teaching and research in Islamic Studies in UK universities.
I have been editor of the journal Culture and Religion since its foundation in 2000, which is published four times per year by Routledge.
Since becoming an independent scholar I have become increasingly interested in the changing nature of academic publishing and communication. A substantial transformation is taking place that is slowly having a significant impact on how academics can present their work to various audiences. Although the idea of the academic as a public intellectual is by no means new, there are definitely new opportunities for academics to engage positively with new audiences. My aim is to develop in this direction, making use of new media as well as I can.
Therefore, although I have a great passion for the engagement of live classroom teaching, I also see great potential in the growth of MOOCs as a new form of student learning. I have published a blog post on this in the Huffington Post (along with other topics), and I will be developing new small online courses available through Udemy website (as well as on Youtube and on this website). On a smaller scale to this, I have begun recording short (3 minute) videos with the Canadian video forum, Vidoyen, to make some of my research interests accessible to new audiences.
I am also currently recording my text book (Religion the Basics) for Audible, the audio-book Amazon platform. I am developing a podcast related to my work, and alongside this a podcast series that is part of the Culture and Religion journal that I edit. This journal podcast will make use of interviews with authors and guest editors related to their papers in the journal.
In sum, my aim is to continue my academic life in what I call a ‘free range’ manner and in doing so I intend to make my research and my academic interests more publicly engaging.
If you would like to be kept up to date with my work, then you can sign up to my email newsletter.