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Dr Sharmina Mawani

Ethno-Religious Identities

Institute of Ismaili Studies



Dr Sharmina Mawani is a lecturer in the Department of Graduate Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, UK. She holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics; and a BA in Islamic History and Religion from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Her teaching experience includes courses on Islamic history, modern Muslim societies, and religion and identity in contemporary society. She also supervises research projects at postgraduate level. Her research interests include ethno-religious identities, Muslims in Britain and Canada (with a specific focus on the Nizari Ismaili communities), processes of acculturation, religious commodification, and South Asian devotional literature.

Sharmina has presented at national and international conferences and published numerous works in the field of diaspora and identity studies, including Aapnun Aap Pichano: The Ginanic Tradition of the Nizari Ismaili Muslims of Gujarati Ancestry and Sanctuary for the Soul: The Centrality of the Jamatkhana in Religious Identity Formation. She has co-edited four volumes: Gujaratis in the West: Evolving Identities in Contemporary Society, which investigates how Gujaratis construct and express their complex religious, linguistic and ethnic identities in the contexts of the nations in which they reside; Gujarati Communities Across the Globe: Memory, Identity and Continuity, which offers an insight into the everyday lives and evolving identities negotiated by Gujaratis in a global context; Globalisation, Diaspora and Belonging: Exploring Transnationalism and Gujarati Identity, which focuses upon the experiences of the Gujaratis, highlighting the unique ways that globalisation, migration, language, culture and ‘othering’ shape perceptions of belonging; and Perspectives of Female Researchers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Gujarati Identities, in which the contributors draw on their own experiences as female researchers and explore the challenges, limitations and advantages of being a female researcher concentrating on Gujarati communities in various regions around the world.

In 2017, Sharmina was awarded the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), which is awarded to professionals who can demonstrate ‘a broad understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as key contributions to high quality student learning’. She also currently serves on the Executive Board of the Gujarat Studies Association.