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Sami Zubaida

Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology

Fellow of Birkbeck College

Professorial Research Associate, Food Studies Centre, SOAS

Research Associate, London Middle East Institute, SOAS


Research Interests

  • Middle East Politics
  • Religion and Law
  • Nationalism
  • Food and Culture

Latest highlights

  • Professeur Invite, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, Summer 2003
  • Visting Hauser Global Professor of Law, The Law School, New York University, Spring 2006
  • Was Shaykh Zayed Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the American University of Beirut, October 2008
  • Delivered the Peter Green Lecture on the Modern Middle East at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, on Community, Class and Religion in Iraqi Politics and Society, April 2009
  • Delivered the MacKay Lecture at Dalhousie University, Canada, on Mapping Identities: Food and the Creation of Boundaries, October 2009
  • Organised an international conference on Jews from Arab Lands at SOAS, November 2010
  • Published a book, Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (I B Tauris, London) January 2011
  • Public Lecture at Ravenna University, Italy, on Discourses of Difference: Islam and the West, April 2011
  • Keynote Lecture at the International Association of Media and Communication Research Conference, Istanbul, July 2011, on Cosmopolitan Cities
  • Keynote Lecture  at seminar on Arab Thought at the Crossroads of World Civilization, on Communalities and Contrasts Between the European and Arab Shores of the Mediterranean, Arab Thought Forum, Amman, Jordan, September 2011

Recent publications - Books

  • Islam, the People and the State: Political Ideas and Movements in the Middle East, 3rd edition, London 2009, translated into Arabic, Hebrew, Italian and Turkish
  • A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (co-edited with Richard Tapper, 2nd edition, London 2000), translated into Arabic and Turkish
  • Law and Power in the Islamic World, London 2003/5, translated into Arabic, Danish and Turkish
  • Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East, London 2011

Recent publications - Articles

  • ‘The Idea of Indian Food: Between the Colonial and the Global’, Food and History, Vol. 7 No. 1, 2009, 191-210
  • ‘Urban Social Movements 1750-1950’, in Peter Sluglett, ed., A Social History of Middle Eastern Cities, 2008
  • ‘Sects in Islam’, in Oxford Handbook on Sociology of Religion, 2008
  • ‘Political Modernity’, in M Khalid Masud, A Salvatore and Martin van Bruinessen, eds., Islam and Modernity: Key Issues and Debates, Edinburgh 2009
  • ‘Role and Strength of Institutions: The Contrasting Cases of Iran and Iraq’, in Contested Sovereignties: Government and Democracy in Middle Eastern and European Perspectives, eds. Elisabeth Ozdalga and Sune Persson, Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute 2010, 121-130
  • ‘Contemporary Trends in Muslim Legal Thought and Ideology’, The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 6, Robert Hefner, ed., Muslims and Modernity: Culture and Society Since 1800, CUP 2010, 270-295
  • Articles in the web journal on current and historical issues in Middle East politics and society

Research projects

  • Transformations in Middle East politics and society: comparative perspectives, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkey
  • Food cultures and discourses on national, regional and diaspora cuisines: the Middle East, Europe and India
  • Member of the Editorial Board, Economy and Society
  • Contributing Editor, Middle East Report, Washington DC

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