Research on Islamism has remained predominantly Sunni-centric. This project brings ‘the Other Islamists’ – Shia Islamists – into the debate on Islamism in the Arab Middle East. It will use a cross-disciplinary theoretical approach which takes religion seriously without essentialising it, to explore whether, and if so, how and why, Shia Islamism(s) differ from their Sunni counterparts. The project will focus on three research puzzles drawn from the Islamism and sectarianization debates: 1) to what extent are Islamist movements shaped by their context, to what extent by their religious identity/ideology/institutions; 2) to what extent and how does the importance of sect-coded identities for Islamist movements change over time and how has this affected/been affected by the process of sectarianization; 3) what role does sectarian othering play in intra-sect competition within the current sectarianized milieu. These questions are examined through three work packages made up of comparative and within-case-studies of key Islamist movements in Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain. The studies will be carried out by a team of internationally leading experts.
The TOI Project’s co-leads are Dr Morten Valbjørn (Aarhus University) and Prof Jeroen Gunning.
Funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (September 2019 till January 2023)
Find out more about the project here