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Staff profile

Anna Piela

Dr Anna Piela


Phone: +44 (0)113 283 7100 ext.678

Visiting address:

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Education / Academic qualification

  • Master of Science, Open University

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of York


Anna Piela is Lecturer in Religious Studies at Leeds Trinity and was appointed in September 2013.
Anna's undergraduate degrees were in Cultural Studies, and Politics and Middle Eastern Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She completed her PhD in Women's Studies at the University of York in 2009. Her dissertation explored intersections between sociology of Islam, gender, and media. Subsequently Anna's dissertation was published as a monograph titled Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in a Virtual World by Routledge.
Anna's research interests are focused on gender and Muslim identities in the West, as well as postcolonial theory and Foucauldian approaches. Following her PhD study, she researched Muslim women's self-representations on social networks. She has also worked on a number of research projects related to social justice, education, and health at Universities of Leeds, York, Westminster, Strathclyde, and Leicester. She is involved in creation of digital resources for students in religious studies and has produced a research guide for students interested in media representations of Muslims, funded by the Islamic Studies Network. Anna also has a MSc in Social Research Methods at the Open University.

Research interests

Anna has recently completed a pilot research project on identities of British Muslim women who wear the face veil. The study is based on interviews with niqabis will result in a monograph titled Wearing the Niqab: Experiences and Identities of British Muslim Women who have adopted a Face Veil, published by I. B Tauris in the 'Dress Cultures' series.

Anna is a member of several professional organisations and networks including British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS), Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies Associacion (MeCCSA), and Muslims in Britain Research Network. 
She has also presented papers at a number of conferences, most recently
  • ‘Videoconferencing as a tool facilitating feminist interviews with Muslim women who wear the niqab’, British Association for the Study of Religions Conference, Open University, Milton Keynes, 2-5 September 2014.
  • ‘Normalising the niqab: constructions of the niqab in British niqabis’ online interactions with readers and viewers on photo-sharing websites’, International Society for Media, Religion and Culture Conference, 4-8 August 2014.
  • ‘For the love of God: British niqabis’ religious and social identities’, British Association for Islamic Studies Inaugural Conference, 10-11 April 2014. 

Anna is a peer reviewer for the journals Sociology;  Ethnic and Racial Studies; and Ethnicities, and a monograph peer reviewer for the Routledge Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Series.
Anna has been recently invited to contribute to the Public Spirit, a University of Bristol-based online forum for researchers, policymakers, politicians and practitioners from the voluntary and community sectors to debate recent developments in faith and public policy. Her article focused on recent media representations of niqabis in the British media and can be accessed here:
Most of Anna's publications can be found on her profile.

Teaching and Administration

In the Autumn Semester 2014/2015 Anna is teaching the following modules:

  • TRS5782 PDPM (Module Co-ordinator)
  • TRS5912 Sociology & Anthropology Of Religion

In the Spring semester 2013/2013 Anna was teaching the following modules:

  • TRS 5802 World Religions II (Judaism and Islam) with Dr Suzanne Owen
  • TRS 4522 World Religions II (Judaism and Islam) with Dr Suzanne Owen
  • TRS4802 Method & Theory In The Study Of Religion (Module Co-ordinator)

 In the Autumn semester 2013/2014 Anna was teaching the following modules:

  • TRS5912 Sociology & Anthropology Of Religion (with Dr Suzanne Owen)
  • TRS4802 Method & Theory In The Study Of Religion (Module Co-ordinator)

Willingness to take PhD. students