Enquiries and applications are invited from students wishing to undertake research in the areas of Islamic Studies for the MA and PhD degrees. Students are already studying topics on Islam in India, religions and politics in Iran, contemporary Muslim intellectuals, the development of Halal in New Zealand and a number of other topics. Enquiries to Professor Paul Morris ( or Professor Paul Trebilco (

Victoria has four current scholars teaching various dimensions of Islam.

  • Dr Art Buehler (PhD, Islamic Studies, Harvard) teaches an introduction to Islam, a course on contemporary Muslim societies, and on Islamic mysticism. He has published two books on mysticism and has just finished a study of mystical literature.
  • Dr Jim Veitch (PhD, Religious Studies, Birmingham) specialises in Islam in Indonesia and issues of Islam and security. He has published on Indonesia and religion and security.
  • Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (PhD, Calcutta), teaches Indian history, including Islam in modern India.
  • Negar Partow (PhD candidate, Victoria) teaches women in Islam, and Islam and geo-politics. She has published recently on oil and politics in the Middle East.

Otago has six academics currently working on Islamic Studies or in related areas.

  • Professor William Harris (PhD Durham) teaches the history of the Middle East, with a focus on Lebanon and Syria. His publications include a widely used history of the Levant and he is currently working on a history of Lebanon, 640–2005, for Oxford University Press.
  • Dr Taneli Kukkonen (DDiv Helsinki) teaches and researches Islamic philosophy, theology, and mysticism. He has an especial interest in psychological and cosmological notions in classical Arabic thought and has published widely in these areas, as well as on the history of the Aristotelian tradition.
  • Dr Najibullah Lafraie (PhD Hawaii) teaches Islam and politics. He was a minister in the Interim Government of Afghanistan (1989) and was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the Islamic State of Afghanistan in from 1992 until the Taliban captured Kabul City in 1996. His book on revolutionary ideologies and interpretations of the Qu'ran was published by I.B. Tauris in 2009.
  • Dr Gautam Ghosh (PhD Chicago) has done research in India and Bangladesh on, among other issues, inter-religious relations. He is particularly interested in the history and on-going repercussions of the Partition of British India into the republics of India and Pakistan, and later Bangladesh.
  • Dr Malcolm Cone (PhD Otago) teaches and researches international management and comparative approaches to management and business in the Asia Pacific. He has written on neo-modern Islam in Indonesia and culture and sustainable development.
  • Dr Erich Kolig (PhD Vienna) has done research in Afghanistan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu. His research interests include Islam in New Zealand (issues and politics of multiculturalism) and Indonesia. He has recently published the first academic study of Islam in New Zealand.