Research: religion and society specialism

We have an outstanding international reputation in the study of all types of religion and their interaction with society in the contemporary World including, inter-cultural theology; the exploration of values and cultural practices; the intersection of belief and trust in science; practical theology; Islamic studies; contemporary and alternative spiritualities; Jewish Studies; and Sikh studies.


Staff with research interests in religion and society

Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker

Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker

Professor of Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society

Science and (non-) Religion in Society and Culture. Public Perceptions of Science and/or (non-) Religion.

Dr Deryn Guest

Dr Deryn Guest

Senior Lecturer in Biblical Hermeneutics

  • Biblical Hermeneutics
  • Gender
  • Sexualities and religion
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex theologies 
  • Ecological hermeneutics

Dr Haifaa Jawad

Dr Haifaa Jawad

Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Director of Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Modern and contemporary Islamic thought; contemporary Muslim society and politics; Muslim women. 

Dr Jeremy H. Kidwell

Dr Jeremy H. Kidwell

Senior Lecturer in Theological Ethics

I am an interdisciplinary scholar: trained in ethics and constructive theology with a background in the humanities, particularly literature and music.

Dr Isabel Wollaston

Dr Isabel Wollaston

Senior Lecturer in Jewish and Holocaust Studies

Jewish and holocaust studies, contemporary Christian-Jewish relations; Jewish and Christian (post-)holocaust theologies.


We have substantial links to the department’s other research groupings, including the Centre for Philosophy of Religion, the Centre for Charismatic and Evangelical Studies, the Biblical Studies research cluster and the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, meaning that postgraduate research takes place in a fully supported, fully integrated environment.

Research topics within the contemporary religion and society research specialism can include:

  • Sikh studies
  • Islamic studies
  • Asian religions
  • Quaker studies
  • Inter-religious relations
  • Contemporary religion and society
  • Jewish and Holocaust Studies

Postgraduate programmes

Postgradute research

We have a number of postgraduate researchers interested in areas of contemporary religion and society at Birmingham, examples of recent theses included:

  • Perceptions of Islam among Christians in Kenya, co-supervised by David Thomas 
  • Muslim women and the blogosphere, supervised by Haifaa Jawad
  • Anne Frank and Holocaust Education, supervised by Isabel Wollaston
  • Aesthetics in the Qur'an, supervised by Haifaa Jawad
  • Turkish Muslim Perception of the Prophet Muhammad during the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman Period, co-supervised by David Thomas and David Cheetham 

All of our postgraduate researchers benefit from the academic strengths of our research clusters and are often co-supervised by members of staff from associated clusters across the College of Arts and Law, so that they have access to different perspectives on their research topic. If you are interested in doing postgraduate research in Religious Studies at Birmingham please feel free to contact the member of staff in the cluster that you think will be best suited to supervising your work here.

Theology and Religion research specialisms