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PhD in Theology
MA in Christian Theology
BA in Theology and Religious Studies
St John’s College, Cambridge University
- Roles and responsibilities
I have taught a range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I am currently teaching at Winchester University, but have previously taught at Sarum College, Durham University, and Newcastle University. At Winchester I am currently teaching ‘An Introduction to Political Philosophy’ and ‘The Many Faces of Jesus’.
I grew up in charismatic evangelical churches in the North East of England. I have been involved with church leadership, student work and youth work in a number of different churches around the country.
As well as being an Honorary Research Fellow at Queen’s, I’m also a Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophical Theology at Winchester University and a Trustee of Greenbelt festival. I also have a few other academic roles:
- I’m the book reviews editor of the journal Theology and Sexuality,
- a member of the board of editors for the Rowman and Littlefield book series ‘Reframing Continental Philosophy of Religion’,
- and a peer reviewer for Rowman and Littlefield, Theology and Sexuality, Angelaki, Radical Philosophy Review, Horizons, the Journal of the College Theology Society and Colloquium.
- Research interests
One of the powerful narratives I grew up in church with was the idea of the ‘slippery slope’: that certain questions or ideas, if entertained too long or too seriously, would lead away from the truth and therefore from God. I was lucky enough as an undergraduate to find a church community which held together – however briefly and fragilely – an intense commitment to Christian faith with a willingness to ask questions and take risks. I went into my PhD research wanting to find the answer to the question – how is it possible to really confront all of the difficult questions, the ambiguities, and the failures of contemporary Christianity and still be a committed Christian? This question of Christian identity remains at the heart of my work. What does it mean to be a Christian and also to acknowledge the ways in which Christianity is entangled with racism, sexism, colonialism and class oppression? My PhD project (and forthcoming book) came at this question via a consideration of contemporary philosophy (especially Slavoj Žižek) and mystical or negative theology, and suggested that one way forward might be a feminist, materialist – rather than a Neoplatonist, idealist – understanding of Christianity.
My current project focuses on angels and cyborgs as analogous figures for thinking about the transformations of work, embodiment and government (and the ways these play out in systems of race, class and gender) between the era of classical Christian theology and the contemporary world. I’m hoping to explore the processes of disenchantment – the disappearance of a Christian-Neoplatonic vision of the world in which everything exists within a hierarchical system of signs which point to God – and subsequent re-enchantment – the emergence of a digitised, machinic capitalism in which everything exists within an algorithmic system of signs in which everything enables the circulation of surplus value. How has Christianity shaped the contemporary world, and what does it mean to be a Christian in a world in which society’s driving force is the worship of money?
I have supervised research projects at undergraduate levels, and would be interested in supervising dissertations at any level, especially in the areas of continental philosophy of religion (including queer, black, feminist, Marxist and decolonial perspectives), philosophical theology, and theologies of technology.
- A Theology of Failure: Ontology and Desire in Slavoj Žižek and Christian apophaticism (New York: Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2017).
Articles / chapters
- ‘Slavoj Žižek and Radical Theology’ in Palgrave Handbook of Radical Theologies (Palgrave MacMillan: under contract, article due in October 2016).
- ‘For Our Sins: Christianity, Complicity and the Racialized Construction of Innocence’ in Exploring Complicity: Concepts, Cases and Critique, edited by Robin Dunford, Afxentis Afxentiou and Michael Neu (Rowman and Littlefield: forthcoming 2017).
- ‘Not peace but a sword: Dionysius, Žižek and the question of ancestry’ in Mystical Theology and Continental Philosophy: Debates at the Boundaries, edited by Simon Podmore, Duane Williams and David Lewin (Farnham: Ashgate, forthcoming 2017).
- ‘Machines of loving grace: angels, cyborgs, and postsecular labour’ in Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory (forthcoming 2017).
- ‘“It's Not the Money but the Love of Money That Is the Root of All Evil”: Social Subjection, Machinic Enslavement and the Limits of Anglican Social Theology’ in Religions 7.103 (2016), 1-12.
- ‘Editorial: Radical Theologies: Why Philosophers Can’t Leave Christianity Alone’ in Modern Believing 57.3 (2016), 221-227.
- ‘The Christian Legacy is Incomplete: For and Against Žižek’ in Modern Believing, 57.3 (2016), 267-279.
- ‘The Stone that the Builders Rejected: Work, Empire and the Two Faces of the Bible’ in Postscripts 7.3 (2011) , 305-310.
- ‘The mystical and the material: Slavoj Žižek and the French reception of mysticism’ in Sophia 53.2 (2014), 231-240.
- ‘The body and ethics in Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae’ in New Blackfriars 94.1053 (2013), 540-551.
- ‘Patristics after Foucault: Genealogy, History and the Question of Justice’ in Studia Patristica 62.10 (2013), 115-120.
- ‘In a screen, darkly’, Bible in TransMission, Spring 2016.
- ‘This is my body: digital theology for preachers’ in Preach Magazine, Autumn 2015.
- ‘Can we keep our virtual identity virtuous?’ in idea mag, December 2014.