Stephen completed his PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2011 and subsequently held research positions at the University of Bristol and Newman University, as well as in the private sector. Between 2018 and 2023 he worked as Lecturer and then Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham before joining Keele as Senior Lecturer.

In these roles, Stephen has contributed to, and led, a wide range of research projects focusing on themes including discrimination and prejudice, security and counter-terrorism, the public understanding of science, governance and inclusion, access to higher education, and religion in public life. Since 2018, he has led or co-led four major UK-focused and international research projects, managing international research teams and academic networks along with associated research funding programmes. He is the author of over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as reports to public bodies and government departments. His research has been featured in outlets including ITV, Sky News, The New Statesman and The Guardian, and he and has been interviewed for the BBC and numerous other radio, television and print media.

Research and scholarship

Stephen’s primary area of research expertise is the study of Islam and Muslims in the West and their treatment by Western societies and states. His research in this area has covered a range of criminological and sociological themes, with his recent publications covering anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred, security and counter-terrorism policy, religious change and integration, Muslim political participation, Islamic education, Muslim arts, and public acceptance of science. His most recent single-author book, ‘Islam and the Liberal State’, is a study of British Muslims’ engagement in family law, education and political activism over the last three decades.

Across his career, Stephen’s research has argued for the importance of religious literacy, especially regarding the Islamic tradition, to a variety of public and policy contexts including diversity and inclusion, science communication, prejudice and discrimination, and security. Utilising both qualitative and quantitative methods, Stephen’s most recent research projects and publications have examined the prevalence and effects of stereotypes about Islam in science communication practice (‘Science and British Muslim Religious Leadership’, Rice University; ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum’, Templeton Religion Trust) and among elite social groups within the UK more generally (‘The Nature of Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain’, British Academy). He is currently working on a book on these themes, provisionally entitled ‘Making Sense of Islamophobia’.


Stephen has taught across Religious Studies, Politics, Sociology and Criminology in his career, including modules on social theory, research methods, and specialist topics such as political Islam and Islamophobia. At Keele he currently teaches on ‘Crime and Justice in a Global Context’, ‘Social Inclusion, Exclusion and Crime’, and State Crimes and Crimes against Humanity’.



Stephen is happy to receive enquiries about PhD supervision in areas including the sociology of religion; prejudice, racism and Islamophobia; religious minority engagement with politics; religion-state relations; and science and belief.

Collaborations and grants awards

Stephen's most recent grant awards include:

2022: ‘Diversity and Inclusion in STEMM and Innovation: Evidence Review’, funded via competitive application to University of Birmingham UKRI QR fund (Co-Principal Investigator, £26,148)

2021-2022: ‘The Nature of Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain: Dissemination and Impact Support’, funded by the University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law Impact and Research Fund (Principal Investigator, £2,550)

2020-2023: ‘Science and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge in Britain’, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust/Issachar Fund as part of the ‘Sociology of Science and Religion’ subgranting scheme, Rice University (Principal Investigator, £137,000)

2019-2022: ‘The Nature of Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain’, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust (Principal Investigator, £9,600)

2019-2024: ‘International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society’, field development subgranting scheme funded by the Templeton Religion Trust (Co-Principal Investigator, £2.2million)

2018–2023: ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum: A Global Perspective’, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust (Co-Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator since 2021, £1.7 million plus £1.7 million in-kind funding)

2015–2018: ‘Evaluation of Christians in Science project: “Equipping and Supporting the Next Generation of Christians in Science”’ (Principal Investigator, £12,500)

2014-2015: ‘Public Faith and Financial Services Industry’, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust (Co-Investigator, £30,000)

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