Ryan Williams is a senior lecturer in Studies in Religion at the University of Queensland, Australia. Trained as an anthropologist and sociologist of religion, Ryan works on topics that include Islam, state, and society; new religious and interfaith movements; and the anthropologies of ethics and moralities. He holds a PhD in Divinity from the University of Cambridge and a MA and BA in Religious Studies from the University of Calgary.

Ryan’s current research explores moral experience, imagination and Islam in the English Criminal Justice System based on ethnographic fieldwork in prison and probation contexts. He is also researching religion in Queensland as part of the Queensland Atlas of Religion funded by the Australian Research Council.

In 2018 he was awarded the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Award for Public Engagement and Societal Impact for his research on inequalities in the English Criminal Justice System. Ryan has held research fellowships at the Centre of Islamic Studies and the Prisons Research Centre at Cambridge and has held grants funded by SSHRC (Canada), the ESRC (UK), and the ARC (Australia). He makes regular contributions to public debates and social policy on social inequalities, security, and religion and society, including opinion pieces written for ABC Religion & Ethics and The Independent.

Ryan welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students with relevant training and shared interests. Further information on making an application can be found here.

Areas of research