Dr Reza Gholami

Title: Lecturer in Sociology of Education
Phone: 01782 733123
Email: r.gholami@keele.ac.uk
Location: CBA0.020
Role: Programme Director for MA Education
Academic Conduct Officer (Semester 1)
Education SSLC
Education Social Media Co-ordinator
Contacting me: By email or during office hours (posted on my door)

I joined Keele in 2016. I completed my PhD in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS, University of London, in 2012 and was subsequently appointed Senior Teaching Fellow in the department. My doctoral project was an ethnographic study of an intra-diasporic mode of secularism (which I called ‘non-Islamiosity’) and its relationship to individual and collective self-making in the Iranian diaspora. In 2013 I carried out post-doctoral research funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) exploring the use of ‘alternative’ methods and spaces for citizenship education. Following this project, I was appointed to a Lectureship in Sociology of Education at Middlesex University, London. Currently, I am also Visiting Research Associate in the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education at UCL Institute of Education.

Furthermore, I have worked in consultancy/advisory roles with a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organisations including British Council, the Foreign Office, numerous community organisations and school Boards of Governors and Steering Groups. My work in this area has tended to focus on educational issues (broadly defined), intra- and inter-communal relations, policy making and research capacity building.


Fellowships and Professional Memberships:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Member of the British Sociological Association.
  • Visiting Research Associate in the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, UCL Institute of Education.
  • Associate member of the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS, University of London.

My research can be said to revolve around three inter-related sets of issues:

  1. Education and/in minority communities.
  2. Practices, policies and pedagogies of citizenship.
  3. Power and social justice (often studied through issues of secularism and religion).

As for the first, I am particularly interested in how the educational and citizenship practices of minorities settled in Western nation-states inscribe a transnational logic and the tensions and opportunities this brings to light in relation to national policies, practices and pedagogies. In recent years, I have researched emerging models of education within diasporic communities (‘diasporic education’) and the unique ways in which they engage the structures of (‘host’) nation-states to produce cosmopolitan modes of being – i.e. practices and discourses which cannot be fully claimed by any national or diasporic culture/politics. These, I believe, constitute some of the most important trends of social change in our time.

I also do research on the complexities of identity in the late-modern world and how these relate to official attitudes towards the teaching and learning of citizenship. My previous work has drawn attention to the fact that the subjectivities of diverse young British citizens are shaped partially by the historical events of other countries – events which the young people in question have no or very little knowledge of. I have argued that these complex modalities of selfhood form crucial aspects of citizenship yet are not adequately acknowledged and engaged by formal curricula and policies. Redressing this issue innovatively has important implications for questions of diversity and equality, as well as for issues of radicalisation and violent extremism. Furthermore, the transnationality of contemporary citizenships must be more consistently and democratically reflected in states’ approach to social/public policy, which at present celebrates some forms of transnationality but denigrates others without allowing (young) citizens to make their voices heard about such decisions/processes.

Finally, I also work on secularism. My previous research has shown how ‘the secular’ can be employed as a powerful mechanism to bring about social and personal change among migrants from Muslim backgrounds (e.g. by producing ‘free’ selves, defusing religious power and carving out new social, experiential and epistemological spaces). In this context, I have shown that devout religiosity cannot be assumed to be untouched by or separate from secular power; in fact, the secular is often constitutive of religious experience and practice. More recently, I have become concerned with how secular power operates in late-modern, post-secular society more generally. For example, I have argued that the emerging discourse in the West of ‘Muslim education’ (e.g. in the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair), the PREVENT policy and the increasing normalisation of Islamophobia are all symptoms of shifts in the relationship between secularism and religion (especially Islam). On the one hand, these shifts compel us to develop a better understanding of secular power while highlighting the importance of producing curricula for critical secular studies. On the other hand, they provide opportunities for the emergence of positively transformative and convivial modes of citizenship.

Methodologically, I often conduct mixed-methods research and am well-versed in qualitative and quantitative approaches. My work, however, has been particularly informed by critical theory, ethnography and critical discourse and content analysis. In addition, I use participatory action research as well as arts-based methods to study affective, non-verbal dimensions of citizenship.    

Being committed to research impact, I have received research funding from national funders (including AHRC and British Council) and publish my work in leading, internationally recognised outlets. I am also often invited to speak at major conferences/symposia and to address a wide range of academic and non-academic audiences. I welcome the opportunity to build or be part of multi-stakeholder research networks. 

Authored book:

Gholami, R. (2015) Secularism and Identity: Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora. London and New York: Routledge. (https://www.routledge.com/products/9781472430106)

Peer-reviewed articles:

  • Gholami, R. (2017 - forthcoming) “Beyond Myths of Muslim Education: Theorizing Diasporic Spaces for Education and Citizenship in London,” Oxford Review of Education
  • Gholami, R. (2017 - forthcoming) “Cultures of Integration: Pride, Shame and ‘New’ Religious Identities among UK Iranians,” Journal of Contemporary Islam
  • Gholami, R. (2016) “The Art of Self-Making: Identity and Citizenship Education in Late-Modernity,” British Journal of Sociology of Education http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2016.1182006
  • Cannizzaro, S. & Gholami, R. (2016) “The Devil is Not in the Detail: Representational Absence and Stereotyping in the ‘Trojan Horse’ News Story,” Race Ethnicity and Education http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2016.1195350
  • Gholami, R. (2014) "‘Is This Islamic Enough?’ Intra-Diasporic Secularism and Religious Experience in the Shi`a Iranian Diaspora in London," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40 (1): 60-79 doi/abs/10.1080/1369183X.2013.782150

 

 

Book chapters:

  • Gholami, R. (2017) “Cosmopolitanism as Transformative Experience: Towards a Reconceptualization of Citizenship and Criticality” in Panjwani, F., Revell, L. Diboll, M., & Gholami, R. (Eds.) Education and Extremisms: Re-Thinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World. Routledge.
  • Gholami, R. (2016) “The Sweet Spot between Submission and Subversion: Diaspora, Education and the Cosmopolitan Project” in Carment, D. & Sadjed, A. (Eds.) Diaspora as Cultures of Cooperation: Global and Local Perspectives. Palgrave. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-32892-8
  • Gholami, R. (2016) “Being Openly Religious: Non-Islamiosity, Discrimination and Devout Shi`ism within the Iranian Diaspora in London” in vom Bruck, G. and Tripp, C. (Eds.) Precarious Belongings: Being Shi`i in Non-Shi`i Worlds. London: CASS.
  • Spellman-Poots, K. & Gholami, R. (forthcoming) “Iranians in Great Britain: Integration, Cultural Production and Challenges of Identity” in Mobasher, M. (ed.) Iranians in Diaspora: Comparative Perspective on Iranian Immigrants in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. University of Texas Press.


Edited volumes:

Books:
Panjwani, F., Revell, L. Diboll, M., & Gholami, R. (2017) Education and Extremisms: Re-Thinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World. Routledge.

Special journal issues:
Scharbrodt, O., Gholami, R., and Abid, S. (2017) “Shi`a Muslims in Britain: Local and Transnational Dynamics.” Journal of Contemporary Islam


Other publications:


Selected conference papers:

  • 'Diasporic Education', Self-Making and Citizenship in Late-Modernity: A Critical Exploration of 'Muslim Schools' and 'Supplementary' Education in the UK. Paper to be presented at the BERA annual conference in Leeds, 14 September 2016.
  • The Diasporization of Educational Space: An Ethnographic Exploration of Power and Educational Experience within Iranian Supplementary Schools in London. Paper to be presented at the International Sociological Association 3rd Forum of sociology, University of Vienna, 12 July 2016
  • Diaspora, Education and Citizenship in Late-Modernity: Exploring Muslim Modes of Education and Criticality in Contemporary Britain. Paper presented at Education, Extremism and Criticality, UCL Institute of Education, 8 May 2015. (I co-organised this conference)
  • The ‘Sweet Spot’ Between Submission and Subversion: Diaspora, Education and Identity among UK Iranians. Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, 21-22 April, 2015. (Paper specially invited)
  • Non-Islamiosity within the UK Iranian Diaspora - Research Implications and Possibilities, presented at the Annual conference of the British Sociological Association (BSA), Glasgow Caledonian University, 15-17 April 2015.
  • Diasporic Education and ‘Democratic Energy’: A Critical Exploration of ‘Muslim Schools’ and ‘Supplementary’ Education in the UK. Presented Annual conference of the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS), Senate House, London, 12-14 April 2015.
  • Non-Islamiosity, Self-Making and Shi`a Religious Experience among London Iranians. BRAIS Inaugural Conference, University of Edinburgh, April 10-11 2014.
  • Consumption, (RE)Production and the Experience of Communal Selves, presented at “Everyday Practices of Muslims in Europe”, KU Leuven, Belgium, 28-29 November 2013.
  • The Other End of Community Relations: secular Power, Belonging and diasporic self-experience, presented at “Migration: Global Development, New Frontiers” international conference held at UCL, 10-13 April 2013.


Editorial activities:

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Sage Open (peer-reviewed academic journal)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Compass: The Journal of Learning and Teaching (peer-reviewed academic journal)
  • Guest Editor (with Prof. Oliver Scharbrodt and Dr Sufyan Abid, University of Chester) of a special issue of Contemporary Islam titled: ‘Shi`a Muslims in Britain: Local and Transnational Dynamics’ (2017).

Selected Publications

  • Gholami R. 2017. FORTHCOMING: Transformative Citizenship: Reconceptualising of Religion and Secularism through Cosmopolitanism. In Education and Extremisms: Re-thinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World.
  • Cannizzaro S and Gholami R. 2016. The Devil is not in the Detail: Representational absence and Stereotyping in the Trojan Horse News Story. Race, Ethnicity and Education. doi>
  • Cannizzaro S and Gholami R. 2016. The Devil is not in the Detail: Representational absence and Stereotyping in the Trojan Horse News Story. Race, Ethnicity and Education. doi>
  • Gholami R. 2017. The art of self-making: identity and citizenship education in late-modernity. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION, vol. 38(6), 798-811. link> doi>
  • Gholami R. 2014. 'Is This Islamic Enough?' Intra-Diasporic Secularism and Religious Experience in the Shi'a Iranian Diaspora in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 40(1), 60-78. doi> link>

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Gholami R. Secularism and Identity - Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora. Routledge.

Journal Articles

  • Cannizzaro S and Gholami R. 2016. The Devil is not in the Detail: Representational absence and Stereotyping in the Trojan Horse News Story. Race, Ethnicity and Education. doi>
  • Cannizzaro S and Gholami R. 2016. The Devil is not in the Detail: Representational absence and Stereotyping in the Trojan Horse News Story. Race, Ethnicity and Education. doi>
  • Gholami R. 2017. The art of self-making: identity and citizenship education in late-modernity. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION, vol. 38(6), 798-811. link> doi>
  • Gholami R. 2014. 'Is This Islamic Enough?' Intra-Diasporic Secularism and Religious Experience in the Shi'a Iranian Diaspora in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 40(1), 60-78. doi> link>

Chapters

  • Gholami R. 2017. FORTHCOMING: Transformative Citizenship: Reconceptualising of Religion and Secularism through Cosmopolitanism. In Education and Extremisms: Re-thinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World.

I welcome queries from prospective doctoral candidates wishing to pursue research in the following areas:

  • Citizenship and citizenship education;
  • Social policy and social justice;
  • Education and violent extremism;
  • Globalization and cosmopolitanism;
  • Human Rights Education;
  • Migration and diaspora (including minority and refugee education);
  • Secularism and religion (including secular and religious education);
  • Critical theory/pedagogy;  
  • Anthropological and comparative approaches to education.