Research Centres

Faculty members from the Department of History participate in a variety of interdisciplinary research centres. 

Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies

The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies has been established at Simon Fraser University to encourage the academic discussion and public understanding of the cultures and societies of Muslim peoples in the past and present. The Centre works through a variety of programs to broaden the discussion of this important subject and to introduce more complexity and comparison in the analysis.

Muslim societies and cultures have increasingly become the focus of public and academic attention, although much of the discussion has centred narrowly on contemporary issues of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. The variability and flexibility of Muslim practices and perspectives have not featured in this discourse, leaving the public largely unaware of complexities, achievements and challenges. The Centre has worked to redress this imbalance by broadening the discussion to introduce more comparison and complexity in the study of Muslim societies and cultures from Africa, through the Arab and Persianate world, and into Asia and the West. By focusing attention on Muslim (not Islamic) societies and cultures, the Centre has encouraged a shift in analysis from the notion of a single unitary religious ideascape defined by Islam to a more complex view of Muslims as agents in the construction of their own history.

The Centre works through a variety of programs to broaden the discussion of this important subject and to introduce more complexity and comparison in the analysis. In pursuit of this objective, the Centre has brought numerous academic specialists to campus for lectures and consultations; convened interdisciplinary conferences and workshops; established a highly-regarded summer school alternating between Vancouver and London (UK); organized film festivals, art exhibits, and concerts; created residencies, scholarships and visiting professorships; and solicited contributions of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish language material for the SFU research library.

Visit the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies website.

African Studies Working Group

The SFU African Studies Working Group promotes research and organizes related activities with a focus on issues and perspectives that are of particular relevance to Africa.  These activities are intended to extend across a broad spectrum of social, cultural, political, and economic issues from both contemporary and historical perspectives.  The Working Group supports and facilitates research collaboration, networking, and building a community of Africa-related scholars across SFU, Canada, and internationally.  This includes supporting students in learning, research, and other forms of engagement concerning Africa.  The Working Group also mobilizes and transfers knowledge from the academic research community to broader communities across Canada, Africa, and internationally.

The African Studies Working Group steering committee for 2018/2019 is comprised of: Elizabeth Cooper, Catherine D'Andrea, Susan Erikson, Shaheen Nanji, Sarah Walshaw, and Aaron Windel. The steering committee is ably assisted by Ms Jackie Obungah.

Interested in becoming a member? Contact Elizabeth Cooper at

Visit the African Studies Working Group website.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies

The Centre is committed to the study and teaching of Greek history language and culture.  Fundamental to this endeavor is the application of innovative technology to enhance the learning experience for the student and scholar. 

The aim of the Centre is to make Hellenic Studies accessible to university and non-university students with teaching and research as the cornerstone of the Centre’s activities. These tasks are accomplished by training future scholars in Greek history, language and culture. The Centre is dedicated to the survival of Greek studies both in the West and in Asia.

Visit the Hellenic Studies website.