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Meet the Team
Professor Justin Jones, Project Co-ordinator
Justin is the coordinator of the Religion and the Frontier Challenges Programme. He is Associate Professor in the Study of Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, and is Pembroke College’s tutorial fellow in Theology and Religion. He is a historian by training, and works in the social history of modern Islam, with particular reference to the Indian subcontinent. In recent years, he has been exploring contemporary Islamic family law. Drawing upon law and anthropology as well as history and Islamic studies, he is examining how shariah-based family laws are adjudicated in South Asia, both by courts and by community organisations. He has also worked on Islamic discourses of women’s rights, and has worked with grassroots Muslim women’s rights groups. Separately, he has interests in Muslim laws in comparative minority contexts, including in Britain and Europe. He has published a number of books, journal articles and other publications.
Rasangi Prematilaka, Project Administrator
Rasangi joined Pembroke in early 2020 to manage the newly established Religion and the Frontier Challenges Programme together with Professor Justin Jones. She has been with the University of Oxford for many years and has a background of research facilitation/senior management and joins us from the Department of Politics and International Relations.
Dr Barnabas Aspray, Junior Research Fellow
Barnabas is a philosophical theologian interested in the way religious belief & practice interact with contemporary society. His PhD (University of Cambridge) explored human finitude and transcendence in the work of French philosopher Paul Ricœur. Barnabas also holds Masters degrees in Christian Theology and Biblical Studies from the University of Cambridge and Regent College. Before studying theology, he read computer science at the University of Exeter and worked as a software engineer for the BBC website.
Dr Imen Neffati, Junior Research Fellow
Imen is a historian of modern France and the ‘Francophone world’ with broader interest in the histories of religion, secularism, and modernity.
Imen finished her PhD in 2019 at the History Department, University of Sheffield, on the history of the French satirical magazines Hara Kiri and Charlie Hebdo, and their discourses on religion, secularism, race and gender. Prior to that, she completed the Fulbright FLTA programme, the Erasmus Mundus Masters programme Crossways in Cultural Narratives, and holds an MA from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan in Gender Studies, an MA from the University of Sheffield in Cultural Studies, and an MA from Université de Perpignan in Approaches Hétérologiques du Monde Anglophone.
Tobias Cremer, Junior Research Fellow
Tobias Cremer is a political scientist researching the relationship between religion, secularisation and the surge of ethno-nationalist populism throughout Western societies. In his doctoral research (University of Cambridge, funded by the ESRC), Tobias explored how right-wing populist movements in Western nations (Germany, France and the United States) have employed Christianity as a cultural identity marker; and how believers and church authorities are reacting to such invocations of religion in different ways. Tobias holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a McCloy Fellow, an MPhil in Politics and International Studies from Cambridge University, and a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Sciences Po Paris. Across his career, he has worked in the German Parliament, the German Federal Foreign Office, and as a management consultant.
Dr Méadhbh McIvor, Junior Research Fellow
Méadhbh is a social anthropologist with a particular interest in the anthropologies of law and religion. She received her PhD from the London School of Economics, where her research focused on conservative Christian activism and the politicisation of rights-based law in the United Kingdom. Her first monograph, Representing God: Christian Legal Activism in Contemporary England, was published by Princeton University Press in October 2020. Prior to taking up her fellowship in Oxford, Méadhbh taught at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.