The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Nathar Iqbal

Project title: Exploring everyday social and political geographies and encounters of non-heterosexual Muslims in the UK

This ESRC funded project explores the geographies and encounters of non-heterosexual Muslims living in the UK. Through a feminist intersectional lens that explicates the significance of connections between different identities, their attendant power relations and the broader geopolitical and social contexts in which these are invariably contextualised for non-heterosexual Muslims, my project seeks to advance geographic understandings of this 'hidden group' (Yip, 2004).

To date, there has been little attention paid towards the subjectivities of non-heterosexual Muslims within human geography (Rouhani, 2007), despite the increasing scope of, and connections between, the sub-fields of geographies of sexualities and geographies of religion. Outside of geography, Yip (2004; 2008) and Siraj (2009; 2012) have highlighted the difficulties of negotiating, contesting and reconciling these seemingly incompatible identities, given Islam's staunchly heteronormative sexual discourse, the heterosexism existent in conservative ethno-cultural communities and the Orientalist/homonationalist forms of sexual citizenship in the West that position Muslims as 'other' and antithetical to progressive sexual politics.

My project seeks to advance these understandings through a critical focus on the multi-scalar spatialities of intersecting identities and the ways in which these materialise experiences of being in 'the closet' (Brown, 2000), whilst also using the concept of 'lived religion' (McGuire, 2008) to highlight how Islam is practiced and embodied in everyday spaces for non-heterosexual Muslims and used as a strategy for reconciliation with other minority identities such as sexuality and ethnicity.

This project also applies feminist geopolitics literature to explore the relationships between fear, emotions and encounter (Askins, 2008; Hyndman, 2003; Pain and Smith, 2008), and! embodie d intersectionality, focusing on how non-heterosexual Muslims make sense of everyday racialised encounters and the consequences for localised strategies of resistance, education and belonging (Hopkins, 2008; 2015). Thus, this research project draws attention to the ways in which identities are constructed and experienced at numerous scales for non-heterosexual Muslims and their concomitant structuring of everyday spaces, and seeks to highlight the specificities of the relationships between their social and political geographies


  • GEO1015: Human Geography of the UK
  • GEO1096: Geographical Study Skills
  • GE02103: Globalisation, Culture and Development
  • GEO2225: Citizenship in a Global City: Hong Kong Fieldcourse
  • GEO3108: International and Historical Perspectives on Race



  • BA Geography
  • MA Human Geography Research