Dr Rebecca Catto BA (Oxon); MA (KCL); PhD (Exon)

Dr Rebecca Catto

Department of Theology and Religion
Assistant Professor, Kent State University, USA
Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Contact details

I am a qualitative sociologist specializing in contemporary religious-secular relations with a strong commitment to engagement beyond the academy.


  • BA (Hons), Theology, University of Oxford
  • MA, Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, King’s College London
  • PhD, Sociology, University of Exeter
  • PG Cert., Academic Practice, Lancaster University


I am an Assistant Professor in the Sociology department at Kent State University, Ohio, USA. Directly before this I was a research fellow in Newman University’s Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society. Until the end of 2015 I was a Research Fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, which I joined March 2013. Between 2009 and 2013, I was Research Associate on the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme based at Lancaster University. Prior to this I worked as an Assistant Research Officer at the LSE-based charity Inform, which provides data on new religious movements, and Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster. I completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of Exeter in 2008, which was the first empirical academic study of the phenomenon of 'reverse mission', having studied for an MA in the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion at King's College London and BA in Theology at Oxford University.


My research is sociological in approach and framed by an overarching interest in religious-secular relations: how religious individuals and groups in Britain and beyond engage across boundaries, with those of other faiths, no faith, and especially in the public realm. This has translated into specific research interests in: Christian mission, interfaith dialogue, equality and religion and belief, science and religion, nonreligion and secularity, faith-based organisations, and the crosscutting question of youth participation, which speaks to macro questions of religious and social change in modernity. Currently I am a Co-Investigator on Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum.

Previous projects include:

Other activities


Edited volumes

  • Woodhead, Linda, and Rebecca Catto (eds). Religion and Change in Modern Britain.  London; New York: Routledge, (2012).

Journal articles

  • Catto, Rebecca, Grace Davie, and David Perfect. ‘State and Religion in Great Britain: Constitutional Foundations, Religious Minorities, the Law and Education.’ Insight Turkey 17(1): 79-96 (2015).
  • Eccles, Janet, and Rebecca Catto. ‘Espousing apostasy and feminism? Older and younger British female apostates compared.’ Secularism & Nonreligion, (2015).
  • What can we say about today's British religious young person? Findings from the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. Religion 44(1): 1-27, (2014). 
  • Catto, Rebecca and Janet Eccles. ‘(Dis)Believing and Belonging: Investigating the Narratives of Young British Atheists.’ Temenos 49(1): 37-63, (2013).
  • ‘Accurate Diagnosis? Exploring Convergence and Divergence in Non-Western Missionary and Sociological Master Narratives of Christian Decline in Western Europe.’ Transformation 30(1): 31-45, (2013).
  • ‘Researching Youth, Religion, and Society in Modern Britain.’ REsource: The Journal of National Association of Teachers of Religious Education 35(1): 4-6, (2012).

Book chapters

  • Davie, Grace, Rebecca Catto, and Linda Woodhead. ‘Secularism and Secularization.’ In Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations, edited by L. Woodhead, C. Partridge, and H. Kawanami. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 551-570, (2016).
  • ‘Sociology of Religion in Great Britain: Interdisciplinarity and Gradual Diversification.’ In Sociologies of Religion: National Traditions, edited by A. Blasi and G. Giordan. Brill: Leiden, pp. 107-131, (2015).
  • ‘Section 3: Trends, Foreword.’ In Modernities, Memory and Mutations: Grace Davie and the Study of Religion, edited by A. Day and M. Lovheim. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 143-145, (2015).
  • Catto, Rebecca and David Perfect. ‘Religious Literacy, Equalities and Human Rights.’ In Religious Literacy in Policy and Practice, edited by A. Dinham and M. Francis. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 135-163, (2015).
  • ‘Bracketing out the Truth? Managing Bias in the Study of New Religious Movements.’  In: Religion and Knowledge: Sociological Perspectives, edited by M. Guest and E. Arweck. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 269-286, (2012).
  • ‘Reverse Mission: From the Global South to Mainline Churches.’ In: Church Growth in Britain: 1980 to the Present', edited by D. Goodhew. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 91-105, (2012).
  • ‘The Church Mission Society and Reverse Mission: From Colonial Sending to Postcolonial Partnership and Reception.’ In: Religion on the Move! New Dynamics of Religious Expansion in a Globalizing World, edited by A. Adogame and S. Shankar. Leiden: Brill (International Studies in Religion and Society), pp. 81-97, (2012).
  • Martin, David with Rebecca Catto. ‘The Religious and the Secular.’ In: Religion and Change in Modern Britain, edited by L. Woodhead and R. Catto. London: Routledge, pp. 373-390, (2012).
  • ‘United Kingdom.’ In: Encyclopedia of Global Religion, edited by M. Jurgensmeyer and W. Clark Roof. Los Angeles: Sage, Volume 2, pp. 1321-1326, (2012).
  • Catto, Rebecca, and Linda Woodhead. ‘Religion.’ In: Europe in a Global Context, edited by A. Krossa. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 103-115, (2011).
  • Sandberg, Russell, and Rebecca Catto. ‘Law and Sociology: Toward a Greater Understanding of Religion.’ In: Law and Religion: New Horizons. Leuvens: Peeters, pp. 275-298, (2010).
  • ‘Has Mission Been Reversed? Reflections on Sociological Research with Non-Western Christian Missionaries in England.’ In: Migration and Mission: Papers Read at the Biennial Conference of the British and Irish Association for Mission Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, 2nd-5th July 2007, edited by S. Spencer. Sheffield: Cliff College Publishing, pp. 109-118, (2008).
  • Catto, Rebecca, and Grace Davie. ‘Ingiltere’ (text in Turkish). In: State and Religion in Europe, edited by A. Köse and T.K;üçükcan. Istanbul: ISAM, pp. 151-174, (2008).