TOI: Bringing in the Other Islamists

- comparing Arab Shia and Sunni Islamism(s) in a sectarianized Middle East

TOI: Bringing in the Other Islamists - comparing Arab Shia and Sunni Islamism(s) in a sectarianized Middle East. 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 WPs 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 is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (5.383.987 DKK) and will be running from September 2019 till January 2025.


- Public event and workshop on 'Arab Islamist Responses to the War on Gaza' at King's College London, March 6

- Workshop on 'Global International Relations and the International Thought of Turkish Islamists' with Katerina Dalacoura (LSE) at Aarhus University, February 15.

- New article by Ben Robin-D’Cruz in Third World Quarterly on "Deleuze and Guattari on Protest Weakness in Iraq"

- New article by Toby Matthiesen in Foreign Affairs on "How Gaza Reunited the Middle East".

- New book at Oxford University Press by Courtney Freer on The Resilience of Parliamentary Politics in Kuwait, 

- New reports on findings from SEPAD-TOI survey on social relations after covid-19 in Iraq and Lebanon

- Jeroen Gunnings talks on Hamas: Between Politics and War in podcast The Pivot, November 3.

-In-person TOI Workshop on "What can Middle Eastern protests in the past tell us about protests in the future (co-funded by Danish Institute in Damascus) with presentations by Jillian Schwedler (CUNY), Dima Smaira (AUB), Jeroen Gunning (KCL), Younes Saramifar (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, November 2 2023.