Mehrdad Alipour

Department: Islamic Studies
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

Project Summary

My PhD thesis is entitled ‘Negotiating Homosexuality in Islam: a legal-hermeneutical analysis of Twelver Shīʿa Islamic Sources’. I am particularly interested in exploring the discursive space for negotiating same-sex desires and acts in Shīʿa Islam based on Shīʿa legal and exegetical sources. Theoretically, my project would lie at the intersection of Islamic theology of gender and sexual diversity, Shīʿa legal hermeneutics and a paradigm shift in Shīʿa legal reasoning (ijtihād). My ultimate goal is to find a common academic language and method for discussing this subject, one that makes it accessible not just to Shīʿa scholars (both traditionalist and reformist) but also to Shīʿa Muslim communities, in order to enhance understanding of the relationships between traditional sources and classic and contemporary interpretations, and to foster future dialogue.

Supervisory Team

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Robert Gleave (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter)

Secondary Supervisor: Dr. Susanah Cornwall (Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter)


Wider Research Interests

Islamic Studies

Gender, Sexuality and Islam 

Islamic Legal Theory (uṣūl al-fiqh

Islamic Substantive Law (fiqh),

Islamic Philosophy