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Carool Kersten

Dr Carool Kersten

Carool KerstenSenior Lecturer in the Study of Islam & the Muslim World

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1795
Address: Dept of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Room 3.31, Virginia Woolf Building,
22 Kingsway



Carool Kersten is Senior Lecturer in the study of Islam and the Muslim World, and a research associate at the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Before coming to King’s in 2007, Dr Kersten served on the faculty of the Center for Graduate and International Studies (now the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies) at Payap University and at Payap International College in Chiang Mai, Thailand. At the same time, he acted as academic director in Thailand for Lexia International, a US-based study-abroad programme. He has also been a Research Affiliate of the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore, an Associate Lecturer with the Open University of the UK, and a Guest Lecturer at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. Prior to his academic career, Dr Kersten worked for more than ten years in the Middle East.

Carool Kersten obtained his PhD from SOAS and received a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) from King’s College London. He also has an MA (with distinction) in Arabic Language and Culture from Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and a Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies from Payap University (Thailand). In addition, he has done graduate work in philosophy.

Dr Kersten is the founding editor of the book series Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World for Routledge, and a founding member of the British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS), serving on the BRAIS Council and Advisory Board.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Intellectual history of the modern and contemporary Muslim world
  • Political Islam
  • History of Islam in Southeast Asia
  • Islam in global and inter-regional contexts

Dr Kersten’s intellectual-historical research focuses on contemporary Muslim engagement with Islamic heritage. He has written about cosmopolitanism, cultural hybridity and contemporary Muslim intellectuals; heresy and atheism in Islam; the influence of Arab intellectuals, Islamic post-traditionalism and religious pluralism in Indonesia. Currently, he is investigating antifoundationalist influences on contemporary Muslim thinking. As part of his work on political Islam, he has co-edited an essay collection and compiled a three-volume anthology on the Caliphate and Islamic statehood. Currently he is putting together another collection of articles and chapters on fatwas.

Dr Kersten has also written extensively about Southeast Asia, including two monographs on Islam in Indonesia, and two annotated translations from the Dutch of historical travel accounts.

As part of his interest in Islam in global and trans-regional contexts, he has participated in a multidisciplinary research project of the University of Primorska in Slovenia, dealing with politics, ethics, hospitality and peace studies.

He is currently engaged in an international collaboration on world philosophies hosted by SOAS and a project of the University of Oslo on the role of religion in international relations.

Selected publications

  • Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2013), edited with Madawi al-Rasheed and Marat Shterin 
  • Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority (Ashgate, 2013), edited with Susanne Olsson The Caliphate and Islamic Statehood. 
  • The Caliphate and islamic Statehood. 3 vols. (Gerlach Press, 2015)
  • Islam in Indonesia: The Contest for Society, Ideas and Values (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • A History of Islam in Indonesia (Edinburgh University Press, 2017)
  • Poesis of Peace: Narratives, Cultures and Philosophies (Routledge, 2017), edited with Klaus-Gerd Giesen and Lenart Skof

For a complete list of publications, please see Carool's full research profile.


In 2016-17. Dr Kersten will offer the following modules:


  • 5AAT2003 5AAT2003 Modern Islam I: History & Politics
  • 6AAT3048 Contemporary Thought in the Muslim World


  • 7AATC707 Intellectual History of the Contemporary Muslim World

Public engagement

Carool Kersten is a regular media commentator on current affairs and developments in the Muslim world. In recognition of these contributions, he was given the King’s Award for Media Personality of the Year 2015. He makes frequent appearances on Aljazeera and has also been interviewed by the BBC, Channel 4, Islam Channel, TV and radio stations from Australia, Brasil, China, Colombia, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, as well as print media and wire services, including Associated Press, Financial Times, The Independent, New York Times, Time Magazine, The Sunday Times, The Times of London, and Le Point. In addition he has been a consultant for the BBC for the development of online content on subjects related to Islam.

Dr Kersten has taken part in briefings,discussions, seminars and workshops at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the UK, Indonesia and the Netherlands, the House of Commons and House of Lords, the European Parliament, the UK Defence Academy, units of the British Armed Forces, and the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.

He has been an invited delegate to The World Forum for Muslim Democrats in Malaysia (2014) and Japan (2016). 

He also maintains a blog called Critical Muslims.












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