I joined the University of York in April 2018. My research and teaching interests are in the sociology of religion, in conversation with the sociology of the family, childhood studies, urban sociology, the sociology of the body, and the anthropology of religion and ethics.
After studying Theology and Religious Studies as an undergraduate and Literature, Philosophy and Religion for my MA, I worked as a secondary schoolteacher before returning to academic study. My first PhD, which I completed in 2010, was primarily philosophical, examining the implications of the work of Emmanuel Levinas for how we think about the relations between subjectivity, ethics and education. This was the subject of my first monograph, Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility. After completing my PhD, I decided to move into the sociology of religion and undertook a second PhD, developing my theoretical interests in morality, meaning-making and modernity through an ethnographic study of a large conservative evangelical congregation in London. This project explored how church members negotiated their faith – including their countercultural teachings on gender, sexuality, and other religions – across different urban spaces, and offered insight into the processes through which they learnt to understand themselves as an alienated minority in contemporary British society. My second monograph, Aliens and Strangers? The Struggle for Coherence in the Everyday Lives of Evangelicals, was based on this research and was shortlisted for the BSA/BBC Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award. I took up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Kent in 2012, followed by a lectureship in 2015.
My most recent book, The Figure of the Child in Contemporary Evangelicalism, draws on ethnographic fieldwork exploring evangelicals’ engagements with children across the spaces of home, church, school, and broader political life. I have also recently led a 19-month ethnographic project exploring what it means to be nonreligious for children in the UK. As numbers of the avowedly nonreligious continue to rise in western Europe and North America, particularly amongst younger age cohorts, this research contributes to growing interest in the sociology of nonreligion and the secular through deepening understanding of how children and adults in relation to them negotiate, construct, and reconstruct forms of nonreligion and secularity through everyday practices across school and home life.
My research interests lie within the following key areas:
I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in any of these or related areas.