School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Willow Berridge

Lecturer in History


I am a historian of the 20th Century Islamic World, with a particular interest in Sudanese history and the dynamics of Islamist ideology.

My early research focused on policing and prisons in 20th century Sudan. It compared colonial, nationalist and Islamist penal ideologies and policing strategies, exploring important continuities and disconnects between each of three.

My first book, Civil Uprisings in Modern Sudan, was inspired by my experience of living in the country during the Arab Spring. I was curious as to why the debates about civil protest and authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa region overlooked Sudan's proud record of having been the only country in the region before 2011 to have witnessed civil protests that facilitated a transition from military rule to parliamentary democracy. In particular, the book responded to post-2011 debates about the respective roles of Islamism and secular ideologies in the Arab Spring by highlighting the extent to which 'Islamist' or other religiously-orientated groups were willing to collobarate with secularists within the student unions and professional associations that led the protests.

I am about to submit to Cambridge University Press the final draft of my upcoming book on the controversial Sudanese Islamist Hasan al-Turabi. The text explores a number of important themes related to broader analyses of Islamist ideology: charismatic leadership (and its limitations); Islamism as a fusion of Western and Islamic ideologies; Islamism as 'post-colonial'; the important of local political contexts in shaping religious ideology; and Islamist concepts of the Islamic state, democracy and jihad.


BA, MA, PHD (University of Durham)


My research interests include:

20th century Sudanese History

Islamist ideology

British colonial history and particularly the history of colonial law and penal strategies

I am happy to supervise PhD students interested in exploring these themes.

I recently completed a project on the Sudanese Islamist intellectual Hasan al-Turabi (1932-2016). This was supported by a British Academy Small Grant (£6,226).

Now that I have published my text on Hasan al-Turabi with Cambridge University Press, I am planning an additional article exploring Dr al-Turabi's controversial attitudes towards Islam and gender and working on a separate piece on the role of South Sudanese in Dr al-Turabi's Islamic Movement. I have also recently published a separate piece on early Sudanese Islamism in the late colonial period, exploring colonial attitudes towards the nascent Muslim Brotherhood movement in the country and the role of colonial education in shaping Islamist worldviews.


I am module leader for the following modules:

HIS3330: Islamism and its Origins

HIS2239: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism in Egypt and Sudan

I teach on the following modules

HIS1025: World Empires

HIS3000: Reading History