Skip to main content

About Dr Akil N Awan

Dr. Akil N. Awan is Assistant Professor in Modern History, Political Violence and Terrorism in both the Department of History and the Department Politics & International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. He previously held the RCUK Fellowship in the ‘Contemporary History of Faith, Power and Terror’ at RHUL.
His research interests are focused around terrorism, political violence, social movements and protest, new media, and contemporary religion, having taught and published widely on these subjects.
He also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in History and the Deputy Director of the Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway. In addition, he is also Research Associate with the New Political Communication Unit, with the Centre for Public History, and the Centre for Minority Studies.
Dr Awan is regularly consulted by government bodies, think-tanks, and other organizations in his fields of expertise, and has served as an advisor to the UK Parliament, The Home Office, the US Military, RICU, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Wilton Park, and the Royal United Services Institute amongst others. He has also served as key academic expert on Radicalisation to the UK Parliament, and as academic expert on Political Violence & Genocide to the House of Lords delegation to Srebrenica.
He is also a regular commentator in the Media and his research has appeared on Channel 4, BBC Radio 4, The Economist, the LA Times, Reuters, CNN, MSNBC, BBC World Service, and US National Public Radio.
+ Radicalisation - Causes, Processes & Consequences: His principle research concern over the last few years, however, has focused largely on processes of political radicalisation and the growth of violent extremism. He has published widely on these topics, writing on political disenfranchisement and failed political socialisation; contested identity construction; the role of religion and sacralised violence; legitimation of violence; the role of new media, as well as pioneering the study of 'autonomous radicalisation online' in 2006. Moreover, he has held a number of major research awards in order to explore this field, including a prestigious 5-year RCUK Fellowship in the 'Contemporary History of Faith, Power and Terror' and a major 2-year ESRC-research grant on Legitimising the Discourses of Radicalisation: Political Violence in the New Media Ecology.

+ Religion, Conflict, and Digital Communication in the Greater Muslim World: A British Council funded project in collaboration with Georgia State University, and the Carter Center that seeks to explore whether Muslim religious authorities, institutions and local networks can provide solutions to the shared global challenges of social conflict and political violence, and the role digital communications technologies might play in this process?
+ ‘Taking Liberties’ with Magna Carta: Violence and Injustice or ‘Lawful Rebellion’: a 2-year project that problematises the forthcoming 800th anniversary commemorations of Magna Carta, exploring contemporaneous acts that have betrayed its legacy and ethic, including detention without trial, extraordinary rendition, torture, extrajudicial killings, and even the creation of internment camps like Guantanamo Bay. The project explores how Magna Carta might retain relevance and meaning for a new generation, in light of the moral dissonance engendered by this knowledge.
+ Engaging with the Crusades: Politics, Polemics, and Radicalisation: A new project that seeks to assess the degree to which tendentious historical interpretations of the Crusades and their associated radicalising discourses have been employed by violent extremists like Anders Breivik or al-Qaeda to propound extremist views and negatively influence mainstream audiences. The project also seeks to assess mainstream and popular interpretations and perceptions of the Crusades and the consequences and ramifications of these understandings, which is of particular importance when attempting to gauge audience resilience to radical discourses and narratives, and to assess whether popular countervailing discourses on the Crusades can prove sufficiently inoculating against extremist messages.
+ Young and Radical: Failed Political Socialisation and Radicalisation to Violence - A Comparative Study of 1968 with 2014:
Follow him on Twitter here: @Akil_N_Awan


Present Deputy Director of Humanities & Arts Research Centre (HARC), Royal Holloway, University of London
Present Lecturer in Modern History, Political Violence & Terrorism, Royal Holloway, University of London
Present RCUK Fellow in Faith, Power & Terror, Royal Holloway, University of London

Research Interests

Terrorism & Political Violence, Radicalisation, Social Movements, Protest & Activism, Conflict Resolution & Peace-Building, and New Media

Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Contact Information

Dept. of History / Politics & IR
Royal Holloway, University of London,
Egham, Surrey
TW20 0EX
Twitter: @Akil_N_Awan


Articles (6)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (3)