Arts and Humanities Research Council studentships 2021

Two School of Divinity students have been awarded Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships by the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH), one of the most prestigious awards available.

Students receive a fully-funded PhD with stipend. They also participate in a training programme which supports their PhD study and prepares them for their future career by connecting them to resources and networks across Scotland. They will have the opportunity to interact with Theology and Religious Studies students across Scotland.

Colour head and shoulders image of Jaan Islam

Jaan Islam: Divine Sovereignty in Jihadi-Salafist Thought: An Intellectual Genealogy, 1975-2015.

‘Mr Jaan Islam’s project on the intellectual genealogy of Jihadi-Salafi jurists and thinkers offers an original and innovative analysis of political Islam and modern Islamic thought, while engaging broader theoretical debates about religion, politics, and secularism. Mr Islam examines Jihadi-Salafism through attention to political theology, Islamic intellectual thought, and modern anti-colonial Muslim movements’ say his supervisors, Dr Shadaab Rahemtulla and Dr Joshua Ralston.

Mr Islam will offer a valuable contribution to the postgraduate community at the School of Divinity, one of the largest cohort of religion and theology in the United Kingdom. His study of the complex intellectual history of modern Jihadi-Salafism will challenge one-sided theories that see Jihadi-Salafism as either completely innovative or ardently traditional. This will advance the interdisciplinary perspectives in a number of key current research areas at the School: Public and Political Theology, Modern Muslim Thinkers, and Religion and Politics.

Islam Christian-Muslim Relations Website 

Agana-Nsiire Agana: A Digital Theological Investigation of Identity among Ghanaian Youth

Colour head and shoulders image of Agana-Nsiire Agana

Religion in Ghana is a public affair that underlies identity and selfhood. For Ghana’s urban youth, Christian faith is being transformed through online media. Although they remain highly religious, their online self-representations often contravene ecclesial expectations. Using the intersection of Christian religious and gender subjectivities as an entry point for ethnographic research, Agana plans to investigate young people’s online portrayals of selfhood through the theological lenses of divine sovereignty and free will. From this, he will shape a contextual theological conception of selfhood that enables the church to harness youth digital culture so as to promote gender equality, human dignity, and self-actualisation.

Drs Alex Chow and Emma Wild-Wood, his supervisors, say, ‘Agana will be well-supported by the University’s excellent resources and networks including the School of Divinity’s Centre for the Study of World Christianity, which has for over thirty years nurtured Africa-focused theological research. The Centre includes the largest cohort of graduate students in Scotland studying African Christianity and is already developing synergistic relationships for mutual learning and support.’

Centre for the Study of World Christianity website


Many congratulations not only to Jaan and Agana, but also to their supervisors who have worked so hard to support them through the application process. These are highly prestigious awards, and we’re all delighted to have secured two of them for the School.

Professor Helen Bond
Head of School