From drizzle to clear blue sky: leaving the University of Aberdeen for UWS

One of the characteristics of academic life is often mobility. I have been very mobile in the last ten years. And now it is time to move again. By the 31st August 2008, I officially leave the University of Aberdeen, Religious Studies, since I have accepted UWS’ offer for a new position as Associate Professor (UK equivalent of Readership) in the Anthropology of Islam. UWS, together with Melbourne University and Griffith University, has given life to an innovative centre for studying Islam and Muslims, The National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS), which aims to deliver world-class, multi-disciplinary teaching and research in Islamic Studies at a regional, national and international level. I will contribute, in different ways, to the development of this ambitious project.

Yet, before I can enjoy, after so much Scottish drizzle, Sydney’s nice weather and beaches, I will spend (visa permitting) one year-long leave at Asia Research Institute, at the Religion and Globalisation Cluster National University Singapore, as Visiting Senior Researcher conducting research about, and fieldwork among, the Malay Singaporean Muslim community. As you can see, this has been a very exciting year with many changes.

Some of you may be surprised about my decision of both leaving the UK, which I consider home, and also Europe altogether. Yet there are some very good reasons for what has been a difficult decision. The University of Western Sydney is a dynamic and internationally oriented university located in Sydney (which is one of the best cities in the world!).

UWS has strong links with the local community and surely is a very interesting place for an anthropologist studying Muslims. The main campus in which my office will be located, Bankstown, is in one of Sydney’s suburbs with the highest number of Muslims, with a strong presence of Australian Lebanese. Secondly, I will be part of a new team of colleagues specialised in different fields of studying Muslims and Islam. Finally I will be very much involved in research and postgraduate studies. It is surely fascinating to be part of a project which is just starting.

During my stay both in Singapore and then Sydney, I will have the occasion to expand my research interest to Asia, in particular Malaysia (yes…I am having fun studying Malay!), as well as the Muslim communities in Australia. You will be surprised to discover that in Sydney there are quite interesting and challenging themes of research to develop and conduct. You can expect some more posts about it in future.

I look very much forward to this new adventure … and, I have to admit … Sydney’s amazingly cute, sometimes challenging, wildlife!

14 thoughts on “From drizzle to clear blue sky: leaving the University of Aberdeen for UWS

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  1. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  2. What is your latest status in making the transition to Bankstown? We are ready to roll out the red carpet.

  3. Dear Dr Marranci,
    Good luck to your new academic adventures outside of Aberdeen.In your research for the National University of Singapore about the Malay Singaporean Muslim Community, do be cautious about the catergorisation of a Malay and a Muslim. Not all Muslims are Malays and not all Malays are Muslims, as in the last 15-20 years, some Malay-Muslims have been successfully Christianized and have their own Malay churches in Singapore. Not only that, the Singaporean Malay Christians are also making inroads into Malaysia especially among the students.

    The home of the original Malays of Singapore in the Southern Islands have been first used as target practice for the Air Force and now ‘joined’ together to form the large industrial complex of Jurong Island.

    In fact, as an anthropologist, you might find the definition of a Malay to be quite a minefield.

    I write this because as a Malay Muslim I find your blogsite very refreshing and heartening because most of the time westerners are very biased and ignorant about Islam and Muslims and I do hope you will respect my confidentiality.Thank you

  4. gabriele (i hope you do remember me)

    Andrea (the Teti) mi ha detto del tuo prossimo arrivo (inshallando) quaggiu. Io sono appena arrivato a Sydney, ma alla Macquarie University, ma c’e’ uan monttagna di cose che si potrebbe fare once you’re here. tra l’altro uno dei miei TAs sta facendo un Ph D a UWS proprio sulla comunita irachena di Sydney

    yalla fatti vivo se vuoi/puoi/ti ricordi


  5. Bankstown? Auburn for life mate! 😀

    And Prof. Marranci, we have been having a lot of drizzle here of late as well so it may not be that much of a change after all – except the rain is warmer!

  6. Assalam Alaykum Brother

    What a delight to have you here Down Under, and to have you in the most central part of Australia, Bankstown. This is the exciting place where it all happens…we attract the media, we have the best halal restaurants, the best football team, the best students, and the best University (do not listen to those who say otherwise LOL).

    Anthropology, now that is a unique addition to a rich understanding of Islam. Looking forward to having you here.


  7. Hi
    NCEIS sounds interesting. From what I have gathered so far, it promotes a secular Islam. Is that right? Has there been or do you expect any opposition?

  8. Dear all,

    thank you for your kind messages and support. I look forward to meeting people in OZ 🙂 please keep in touch. Although I am going to Sydney, my research in Europe will still be going on as usual (I will have sabbatical leaves and, of course holidays)


  9. Woohooo welcome to Oz!!

    I’m at Monash University at the Centre for Islam and the Modern World, but that’s in Melbourne – but I did some of my research gathering in Bankstown. Verrrrryyyy different from UK.

    Prof. Abdullah Saeed who’s the head of the NCEIS is my old boss, and he’s fab (but he’s at Uni Melb). Anyway drop us a line when you get to Oz!!

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