Australian-based Studies on Islam and Muslim Societies

ARC Initiative ID : SR0454469

Report Sponsored by the Australian Research Council Seed-funding (February 2004)

In December 2003 the Australian Research Council approved a seed-funding application to prepare a report on the present state of Australian-based studies on Islam and Muslim Societies. This Report was to be delivered to the ARCby 9 February 2004, in hard copy and on CD-Rom. A copy of this Report can be downloaded as either a PDF version 646kb or Word version 377kb.

Since then this Report has resulted in productive research integration with the new ARC Asia Pacific Futures Network. A dedicated Islam research node has been formed.

The ARC APFRN Islam Node brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from different universities around Australia to showcase research excellence and expertise in studies of Muslim affairs in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. The Islam node website carries news of initiatives and activities on research in Islam and Muslim affairs.

The on-line ARC form allowed for a maximum of 29 scholars to be named on the Seed-funding application (see Appendix A). This Report is primarily based on the research activity of these scholars. It is obvious that Australian expertise on Islam and Muslim societies is not confined to this list and in recognition of the spread and multi-disciplinary nature of the scholarship, this Report aims to incorporate data from sources beyond those named on the application. The result is a selective account of the research activity in this expanding field of study. This Report, although not comprehensive, identifies a number of pertinent points and highlights existing and developing areas of research strength.

The Report covers a range of issues related to research activity on Islam and Muslim societies. It

  • explores Australian-based research in this field and its international impact
  • highlights existing and developing areas of research strength
  • surveys existing networks and potential for growth
  • examines post-graduate training
  • confirms the national benefits of this field of study

This Report was prepared in close consultation with a wide-range of academics in December 2003-January 2004. An earlier version was examined at a meeting in Melbourne on 27 January 2004.

Following close consultation with scholars in this field and other areas of social sciences, it was decided that our expertise on Islam and Muslim Societies would benefit from a broad collaborative approach to networking. This idea was explored in detail at a joint meeting on 30 January 2004 in Melbourne with three other Seed-funded projects on

  • Networking Asia: Maximizing Australia’s National Capacity in Inter-Disciplinary Research on Asia (Initiative ID: SR0354512)
  • China’s Asia-Pacific Century: Enhancing Australia’s Engagement (Initiative ID : SR0354509)
  • Pacific Futures Network: Security, Governance and Development in the Pacific Islands Region (Initiative ID: SR0354865)

The Seed-funded report by these projects may be found on

The present on-line Report serves as the starting point for a more elaborate account of the strengths and weaknesses of Australian scholarship on Islam and Muslim societies. This web-page will be updated in due course to include an extensive data-base of scholars and their areas of expertise.