Have Your PhD Supervised… By Osama Saeed!

Here’s a once in a lifetime opportunity:

Understanding and communicating Islam in official discourse and policy in Scotland and the UK: *ESRC Collaborative (CASE) +3 year PhD Studentship** **Globalisation, Communication and Democracy Cluster, Department of Geography and Sociology**, University of Strathclyde*

The Department of Geography and Sociology at the University of Strathclyde has been awarded an ESRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship in partnership with the Scottish Islamic Foundation. The PhD will be supervised by Prof David Miller and Dr William Dinan at Strathclyde and by Osama Saeed of the Scottish-Islamic Foundation.

We invite applications from potential UK/EU research students who have a good Masters qualification and meet the eligibility criteria for ESRC doctoral funding. Suitably qualified candidates from a wide range of social science disciplines – including sociology, media studies, politics, geography, anthropology and international relations – are encouraged to apply. ESRC meets the tuition fees and pays a basic (tax free) maintenance grant of £17,290 p.a. The collaborating organisation pays an additional £2,000 p.a.

This study will examine relations between, and policy communications about, Islam and governmental agencies in the UK. The focus will be on governmental strategies for dealing with Islam and British Muslims particularly in relation to issues of community cohesion, ‘radicalisation’/’de-radicalisation’ and the management of particular themes or strands in Islam.

To do this the project will

  • Systematically map the policy initiatives launched by the UK and Scottish Government (formerly Scottish Executive) intended to deal with the issues arising from the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 and those in the UK including most notably on 7 July 2005
  • Analyse the historical progression of the strategies and examine both changes in policy and potential contradictions or tensions between differing government agencies
  • Examine the communicative relationships between Muslim organisations and individuals and governmental agencies in relation to these policy issues • Analyse media output on these questions and how it interacts with policy processes
  • Contribute to policy debates on the most appropriate way to respond to potential threats to public order. 
  • Inform and contribute to Muslim ‘community’ responses to official policies

The research will catalogue varying government responses historically, and in terms of geographical and policy coverage. It will explore the formation of government policy in this area and look at the already evident contending agendas and approaches which exist inside government, such as those focused on a policing response and those seeking to engage and involve communities in decision making on the one hand, and the extent to which differing arms of government may be unwittingly undermining each other by operating in varying policy arenas such as for example the alleged conflict between and the Foreign Office and the Department for Communities, or the varying approaches to the ‘war on terror’ taken by the Cabinet Office (branded as ‘UK Resilience’) compared with proactive community work.

The origins of policy will also be examined through research on the strategies and activities of the various policy actors in public debate on these matters, including voluntary organisations, think tanks, journalists, civil liberties groups and other community based organisations. It will also take a prospective approach and follow how policies determined in Whitehall and Edinburgh operate in practice by attending and observing policy events such as cultural or religious events sponsored or supported as part of government policy.

A CV, letter of application (making a case why you should be appointed), a transcript of your qualifications to date, and anticipated results if you are still studying and the names of two referees, should be sent to Margaret Keoghan, Dept Geography and Sociology, 50 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XU by Friday 15 June 2009 and short-listed candidates will be interviewed in the week beginning 22 July. The successful candidate will be expected to take up the studentship on 1 October

All nominees must satisfy the ESRC’s academic and residential eligibility requirements which can be downloaded from: *

For informal discussion and further details about the project, contact **Prof David Miller**, **0141 548 3794 / 07786 927 551** ***

So, if your thesis is that the Scottish Islamic Foundation represents an attempt to impose a vicious Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood politics on a heterogeneous Muslim population, by means of a faustian bargain under which a very small band of Scottish Islamists – mostly related to each other – get mainstream respectability, while the SNP get a few votes…

… don’t bother to apply.

David Miller is an interesting one too. He’s a professional paranoiac who runs a website called “Spinwatch”, and has recently created a laughably inaccurate wiki which claims to map the British “neocon” scene.