Giulia Liberatore


  • Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Alwaleed Centre
  • Social Anthropology

Contact details



Room G.3
19 George Square

Post code


  • I currently work part-time and on flexible hours on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday


I am Lecturer at IMES and Social Anthropology and an academic lead on the Muslims in Europe research theme at the Alwaleed Centre. I have a doctorate in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE), and prior to coming to Edinburgh I worked at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford.

My research interests are in the anthropology of Europe, religion (Islam and Catholicism), migration, and the politics of difference.

Broadly my work has explored how religious differences are governed and institutionalized in liberal, secular Europe - including the exclusions and forms of violence that often ensue from these processes - and the possible alternative modes of being and imagining our relations with others that emerge and unsettle these modes of managing difference.

My current project in Italy (Palermo) explores the encounter between different Catholic groups in the city, and their engagements with differences in social class, ethnicity and religion. This research is part of an ERC-funded ethnographic project on Multi-Religious Encounters in Urban Settings (MEUS) - on which I am a co-PI with Ammara Maqsood (UCL) and Leslie Fesenmyer (Birmingham) - which aims to theorise non-secular modes of connecting over difference.

As part of this project, I am also collaborating on an audio-visual project on the Traces of Islam in Palermo with photographer Kate Stanworth and artist Stefania Artusi.

My previous work has focused predominantly on Islam in the United Kingdom. My monograph, entitled Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain (2017) chronicles the aspirations of different generations of Somali women as they respond to and challenge publicly charged questions and modes of governance around religion, ethnicity and citizenship.

As part of my Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2015-2019) on Female Islamic scholarship and guidance in the UK  I explored the way female scholars and counsellors not only carve out spaces for themselves within predominantly male-dominated Islamic spaces in Britain, but also challenge dominant secular modes of understanding Islamic knowledge, cross-cultural counselling and psychotherapy, and a broader politics of difference in Europe.

Alongside my research and teaching at UoE I am also deeply interested in critical and anarchist pedagogies and self-directed forms of learning for all ages and  I am engaged in the deschooling/unschooling movement.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Visiting Fellow, Università degli Studi di Palermo (UNIPA) from 01/12/21- 30/12/22

Trustee for Kayd Somali Arts and Culture, supported by Arts Council England:

Undergraduate teaching

Muslims in Europe

Postgraduate teaching

Muslims in Europe


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in supervising projects in the fields of the anthropology of Italy, Europe, migration, religion and Muslims/Islam in Europe

Research summary

Politics of difference; Italy, migration, Catholicism; anthropology of Islam/Muslims in the UK, Italy and Europe; gender and subjectivity; Somali diaspora.


Affiliated research centres

  • Alwaleed Centre

Project activity

Multi-religious Encounters in Urban Settings (MEUS)




Current project grants

ERC Starting Grant, Horizon 2020

Past project grants

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, for a project on 'Female Muslim Leaders in Britain: Transnational Publics and Changing Forms of Leadership and Authority in Britain'