LSE Religion and Global Society

LSE Religion and Global Society is an interdepartmental research unit which conducts, coordinates and promotes social science research that seeks to understand the many ways in which religion influences, and is influenced by, geopolitical change.

This unit is a partnership between the Faith Centre and the Anthropology, International Relations and Methodology departments. We also collaborate with other departments and academics from across the School to support interdisciplinary religion-related expertise.

Research Unit Staff


Jim Walters

Professor James Walters is the Director of the LSE Faith Centre and the Religion and Global Society research unit. He leads the team in the centre’s mission to promote religious literacy and interfaith leadership through student programmes and global engagement, along with research into the role of religion in world affairs. He is a Professor in Practice in the Department of International Relations and an affiliated faculty member at the Department for International Development. He has published a number of books including Baudrillard and Theology (2012), Religion and the Public Sphere: New Conversations (2018), A Christian Theology of Chaplaincy (2018), Religious Imaginations and Global Transitions (2018) and Loving Your Neighbour in an Age of Religious Conflict (2019).

 email: j.walters2@lse.ac.uk



Dr Hanane Benadi is the Research Officer on the Global Religious Pluralities Project for the climate change and interfaith relations strand. She is an anthropologist working at the intersection of ethics, politics, religion, and climate change in the MENA region.


email: h.benadi1@lse.ac.uk


Manmit Bhambra

Dr Manmit Bhambra is the Research Officer of the Religion and Global Society research unit and is coordinating its inaugural project, Strengthening Religious Cooperation in Global London. The project is exploring the impact of COVID-19 on interfaith relations and the potential for interfaith collaboration in these circumstances.

Educated at LSE and the University of Oxford, she holds an Oxford doctorate in Sociology. Her thesis explored how national identity is understood and experienced in multicultural contexts and the impact of this on minority groups in the United Kingdom. Her research interests are centred around identity politics and formation, ethnic, religious and national identities as well as the broader themes of race, inclusion and minority rights. She has recently worked on research projects with young people at the LSE’s European Institute and Middle East Centre. She works actively with youth organisations throughout the U.K. and is interested in issues facing young people today. She is also Lecturer in Global Politics at Imperial College London.

 email: m.k.bhambra@lse.ac.uk



Dr Chris Chaplin is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow working on the Global Religious Pluralities research project at the Religion and Global Society Unit. 

Receiving his PhD from the University of Cambridge, Chris’ research straddles between the fields of anthropology and politics. He is particularly focused on exploring the convergence between global Islamic doctrines and local understandings of piety and faith, and how these come to inform civic values, concepts of religious and political belonging, and social activism within Southeast Asia. From a methodological and theoretical standpoint, he is interested in investigating how reflexive approaches to ethnography can provide a transformative space through which to create new dialogues between anthropological practice and religious doctrines.

He has authored a number of articles and op-eds on these topics, and most recently published the book Salafism and the State: Islamic Activism and National Identity in Indonesia (2021).

Prior to joining the LSE, Chris worked for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s Research Analysts Cadre. He has also worked for academic and non-governmental bodies including the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and Amnesty International.  

email: c.chaplin@lse.ac.uk


Cameron Howes

Cameron Howes is the project manager of  the Global Religious Pluralities research project.

He holds a BSc in Government and History and an MSc in Social Psychology from the LSE specialising in religious cognition and intergroup relations. Cameron takes a particular interest in educative programme design and is passionate about translating academic insights into non-academic settings.

email: c.howes@lse.ac.uk



Dr Lindsay Simmonds is a Research Officer as part of the Global Religious Pluralities project; her particular remit is research into Women of Faith and Peacebuilding. She is also a Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) where she has lectured, written and convened courses for over 20 years, focussing on women in Biblical narrative, the Talmud and Jewish Law. 

Lindsay is involved in several national and international interfaith projects, including co-chair of her local Jewish-Moslem Women’s Network Nisa-Nashim, a trustee for the Abraham Initiatives UK and Jewish Scholar-in-Residence for the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ). She is a member of the Senior Faith Leadership Programme which promotes respectful, deep and long-lasting friendship and collegiality between faith leaders in the Christian, Jewish and Moslem communities in the UK and  speaks regularly on peaceful shared society and conflict negotiation. 

Lindsay studied at Nishmat in Jerusalem, was a Bruria Scholar at Midreshet Lindenbaum, and is a graduate of the LSJS Susi Bradfield Women Educators’ Fellowships. She received her Master’s in Gender Studies and her PhD from the LSE’s Department of Gender. Her doctoral thesis is entitled, ‘Generating Piety: Agency in the Lives of British Orthodox Jewish Women’, which will be published next year. Her academic fields of interest are: gender theory, theories of agency, religious subjects, women of faith, cultural intelligibility and the location of knowledge.

email: l.j.simmonds@lse.ac.uk


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Flora Rustamova is the Communications Officer for the Faith Centre and the Religion and Global Society research unit, where she edits the LSE Religion and Global Society blog.

Flora joined us in August 2022 after five years working in research, communications, and editing. She has a BA in Religious Studies and Anthropology, and an MA in Religion and Global Politics, both from SOAS, and she is particularly interested in religious activism, homonationalism and Islamophobia, and religions in the ex-Soviet world. She is responsible for managing our website, social media, and the RGS blog.

Contact: f.d.rustamova@lse.ac.uk 020 7955 5445


Affiliated Faculty


Marc Baer

Dr Marc Baer is Professor of International History at the LSE. He is the author of the following books: Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (Oxford University Press, 2008), winner, Albert Hourani Prize, Middle East Studies Association of North America, Best Book in Middle East Studies; The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford University Press, 2010); At Meydanı'nda Ölüm: 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul'unda Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Hoşgörü ve İhtida (Death on the Hippodrome: Gender, Tolerance, and Conversion in 17th century Istanbul) (Koç Yayınları, 2016); German, Jewish, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus (Columbia University Press, 2020); Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide (Indiana University Press, 2020), winner, Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (USA); and The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs (Basic Books, 2021), short-listed for the Wolfson History Prize.  


Craig Calhoun

Professor Craig Calhoun is a Centennial Professor at the LSE and University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University holding joint appointments in in the Schools of Politics and Global Studies, the Future of Innovation in Society, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Arts, Media and Engineering. Calhoun served as director and president of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from 2012 to 2016. Calhoun’s work focuses on strengthening the ability of the social sciences, working together with the natural sciences, engineering and humanities, to address the most complex challenges facing society today—from crises in democracy to the shifting nature of globalization and the future of place-based communities, the complicated social and ethical issues raised by new technologies, and the need for creativity, solidarity, and determination in order to achieve just and sustainable futures.He is the author or coauthor of 9 books, editor of another 22, and has published more than 70 journal articles and 100 book chapters that address culture, social movements, education, communication, religion, nationalism, the impact of technology, capitalism and globalization, critical theory and philosophy, and contemporary and historical empirical research. His work has been widely reprinted in anthologies and translated into 21 languages.



Dr Fenella Cannell is a specialist in Southeast Asian anthropology, and has also conducted research on kinship and religion in the United States. She worked in the Philippines in 1988-89, 1992, and 1997. Her fieldwork was with Catholic rice-farming people in a rural area, but on the outskirts of a small town, where people were also exposed to complex, urbanising influences and images from Manila and from the West, especially America. Her research explored the ways in which people come to think about "culture" in a post-colonial society, and focused on women's lives and arranged marriage, spirit-mediumship, saint's cults and religion, and popular performances including transvestite beauty contests. Most recently, however, she has conducted a two-year research project on American kinship and religion, with a particular focus on Mormonism. Much of this research took place in upstate New York and in Utah. In addition to these field-based projects, Dr Cannell has written more broadly on the relationship between Christianity and social theory.


Katerina Dalacoura

Dr Katerina Dalacoura is Associate Professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr Dalacoura’s work has centered on the intersection of Islamism and international human rights norms. She has worked on human rights, democracy and democracy promotion, in the Middle East, particularly in the context of Western policies in the region. Her latest research focuses on the role of culture and civilization in International Relations with special reference to Turkey. She has a continuing interest in questions of secularity and secularization in the Middle East. She is author of Islam, Liberalism and Human Rights: Implications for International Relations   (I. B. Tauris, 2007), Islamist Terrorism and Democracy in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and of a number of chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Courtney Freer

Dr Courtney Freer is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE’s Middle East Centre. She specializes in domestic politics of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in addition to examining the role of Islamists and the interplay between Islam and politics across the Middle East.

Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, based on her DPhil thesis at the University of Oxford and published by Oxford University Press in 2018, examines the socio-political role played by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. 


Eleanor Power

Dr Eleanor Power is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Methodology at the LSE. She is interested in how religious belief, practice, and identity interact with and shape interpersonal relationships. She studies these dynamics through anthropological fieldwork conducted in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where she has been working since 2009. In addition to ethnography, she uses the tools of social network analysis to explore the connections between individual action and group structure. She is currently investigating questions regarding: the feedbacks between communication and cooperation, the relationship between social network structure and inequality, and the measurement of social support.



Professor Nick Robins is Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. The focus of his work is on how to mobilise finance for a just transition, the role of central banks and regulators in achieving sustainable development and how the financial system can support the restoration of nature. From 2014 to 2018, Nick was co-director of UNEP's Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System. Before this, he was head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC from 2007 to 2014. He has also worked at Henderson Global Investors, IIED and the European Commission. Nick is a board member of Investor Watch and a member of a number of advisory boards including Carbon Tracker, the Climate Bonds Initiative and CreditEnable. 


Professor John Sidel

Professor John T. Sidel is the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the LSE and is affiliated with the Government and International Relations departments and the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. His research focuses largely on Southeast Asia and has included coverage of the intersection of Islam and politics in the region, as seen in his books Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 2006), The Islamist Threat in Southeast Asia: A Reassessment (East-West Centre, 2007), and Republicanism, Communism, Islam: Cosmopolitan Origins of Revolution in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2021). He teaches a postgraduate course on Islam in World Politics (IR461) and is currently working on a book provisionally titled "The Making and Unmaking of Islam in World Politics."



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