Dr Alex Henley

Dr Alex Henley

Lecturer in Islam (Mansfield College)
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My interests lie in the modern transformation of Islamic thought and practice, such as institutionalisation, sectarianisation, and changing conceptions of Islam as a ‘religion’.  This has led me to study the roles and functions of religious leaders in modern Middle Eastern states, especially Lebanon.  I come to Oxford from a four-year stint in the United States, where I held research fellowships at Georgetown and Harvard Universities.  I have also taught at Qatar University and the Middlebury College Arabic Program in the US.  I studied at the Universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Durham and Damascus.

Research and expertise: Modern Islam; Islam and politics; religious leadership; sectarianism; Lebanon; Middle East

Current Teaching: Islam in Contemporary Society; Islam in the Classical Period; The Nature of Religion; Religion & Religions; Sociology of Religion

Selected Publications: 

2017. ‘Religious Authority and Sectarianism in Lebanon’ in F. Wehrey (ed.), Beyond Sunni and Shia: Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East (Oxford: OUP).

2017. ‘Religious nationalism in the official culture of multi-confessional Lebanon’ in M. Demichelis and P. Maggiolini (eds.), The Struggle to Define a Nation: Rethinking Religious Nationalism in the Contemporary Islamic World (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press).

2016. ‘Between Sect and State in Lebanon: Religious Leaders at the Interface’, Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies 1/1, pp.1-11, special issue on sectarianism.

2015. ‘Remaking the Mosaic: Religious leaders and secular borders in the colonial Levant’, Religion and Society: Advances in Research 6, pp.155-168, special issue on ‘Religion and Borderlands’.

2008. ‘Politics of a Church at War: Maronite Catholicism in the Lebanese Civil War’, Mediterranean Politics 13/3, pp.353-369.