Religious Studies/Study of Religions

Specialise in contemporary, historical or thematic research in areas such as Asian Studies, History of Religions/New Religions, and Jewish Studies.

Research profile

You can specialise in a variety of areas which include contemporary and historical topics and fields such as Afrodiasporic Religiosity and Decolonial Approaches to Religion, Asian Religions, History of Religions/New Religions and Jewish Studies.

You will be encouraged to frame your research using a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, from the classic to the cutting-edge.  You will be able to draw on methodological expertise which includes biographical analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, historical and textual studies, memory studies and narrative studies.

You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application

Afrodiasporic Religiosity/Decolonial approaches                  

While we welcome proposals on a wide-range of topics within the field of Afrodiasporic religiosity and decolonial approaches to religion our own expertise lies primarily in the following key areas:

  • Gender and Sexuality

  • Creole spiritual practices of the Caribbean and Latin America

  • Race, racialisation and identity

  • Religion as a tool for/of (neo)colonial control as well as a means of self-determination and community building

  • Histories of conquest, enslavement and colonialism shaping religion

  • The politics and economics of religiosity

  • Spirits, ancestors, and the dead

  • Embodied, affective and sensorial components of religious practice 

History of Religions/New Religions

We welcome proposals on a wide-range of topics in new and alternative forms of religion and spirituality, combining empirical enquiry with theoretical and comparative analysis. Our own expertise lies primarily in the following key areas:

  • New and alternative religion/s combining empirical enquiry with theoretical and comparative analysis

  • History and ethnography of the categories ‘spirituality’, ‘holistic’, ‘new age’

  • Atheists, humanists and the rejection of religion

  • Discourses on ‘religion’ in civil society and transnational contexts

  • Modern history of the study of religion/s

  • Philosophy of the comparative study of religion/s

Asian Religions                                        

While we welcome proposals on a wide-range of topics within the field of Asian Religions, our own expertise lies primarily in the following key areas:

  • The intersections between indigenous religions, Hinduism and local Christianities in South and Southeast Asia

  • The ethnographic study of South Asia, with particular expertise in Northeast India and the Himalayan region

  • The intersection between religion, politics and nationalism in Asia

  • Religious narrative in early India, Hindu epics, Buddhist and Jain narrative

  • Buddhism in India and Buddhist literature in Sanskrit

  • Theravada Buddhism, including Pali literature

Jewish Studies

The Religious Studies Subject Area welcomes proposals on a wide range of topics in Jewish Studies, and our own expertise primarily lies in the following areas:

  • Modern Jewish cultural history with a focus on Germany, the UK and Scotland

  • Migration, religion and culture

  • Holocaust representation and memorialisation

  • Jewish religious thought in response to the Holocaust

  • Museum studies

  • Jewish/non-Jewish relations in modern Europe

Further information

Core staff

Dr Naomi Appleton


Profile page: Dr Naomi Appleton

Dr Steven Sutcliffe


Profile page: Dr Steven Sutcliffe

Dr Hannah Holtschneider


Profile page: Dr Hannah Holtschneider

Dr Arkotong Longkumer


Profile page: Dr Arkotong Longkumer

Dr Alysa Ghose


Profile page: Dr Alysa Ghose


Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 8952


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