Simonetta Calderini

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Calderini's main areas of teaching and research are Islamic Studies including Shiism and specifically Ismailism, Islam and Gender, Religion and Human Rights. Her doctoral research (SOAS, 1991) was on medieval Ismaili cosmology and authority. She researched further the relationship between cosmology and religious hierarchies and publisehd an article on this topic "Cosmology and authority in medieval Ismailism" which was later republished and translated into Czech (2004) and French (2006). She published the monogtaphic book "Women as Imams: classical Islamic sources ans modern debates on leading prayer" (Bloomsbury hard back and ebook 2021, paperback 2022). Her previous monograph  with Delia . Cortese was Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2006;  Oxford University Press 2007). 


PhD, SOAS University of London

Teaching Fellow (2016)  Higher Education Academy, UK

Post-doctoral Research Fellowship  Oriental Institute, University of Naples, Italy              

Laurea cum Laude (MA and BA degree  Honours) Oriental Institute, University of Naples, Italy              

Research projects

2008 AHRC study leave for research on Female Imams: the contexts and discourses of arguments in favour and against female ritual leadership and religious authority in Islam

2003-4AHRB study leave on women of the Fatimid dynasty, project was awarded an A rating by peer review panel: outcome: Book EUP 2006.

1995-7Post-doctoral fellowship in "Arabic and Islamic Studies" for a research project on Cosmologies and authority structures in medieval Islam, awarded by the Department of Studies on Africa and the Arab countries, Oriental Institute, Univ. of Naples: outcome journal article (1996)

Professional affiliations

Member of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS

Advisory Board Member of BRAIS (the British Association for Islamic Studies)

Member of Women's History Network

Member of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI)

Member of the American Academy of Religion
Member of The Middle East Studies Association (MESA)
Member of the Royal Asiatic Society
Member of the British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR)
Member of the Istituto per l'Oriente (Rome).



The Qur'an
Islam and Women
Quranic Arabic
Introduction to the study of religion (co-taught with Dr. Lynn Thomas)
London asa resource for the study of religion


Gender and Human Rights for the MA on Religion and Human Rights
Islam and the media