Chester webpage: http://www.chester.ac.uk/departments/trs/staff/graham
My first degree was in social science, but my interest in theology (and especially its practical relevance) really sprang from my membership of the Student Christian Movement. My master’s dissertation explored how perceptions of the pastoral needs of women during the twentieth century tended to stereotype them as wives and mothers. For my PhD, I studied the impact of gender theory on the discipline of pastoral studies within the Western Christian tradition.
From there, via an interest in religion and the body, I started to think about the ways in which popular culture and scientific discourses provide the Western cultural imagination with all sorts of depictions of what it means to be human in a digital, biotechnological and cybernetic age. That interest continues in my work on media, culture and religion.
I have also contributed to the field of practical theology through my work with Heather Walton and Frances Ward on theological reflection.
I’m also interested in the political and public dimensions of religion: my work in urban theology has tried to bring traditions of Christian social thought to bear on the question, What Makes a Good City? More recently, I’ve been thinking about how the Church can better communicate its contribution to society at a time when there is renewed interest in religion as a global cultural force but an enduring scepticism as to the legitimacy of religious voices in public. My solution? To rethink public theology as a form of Christian apologetics.
The idea for this roundtable was that it would follow on directly from this week's interview on religion and literature, but expand the discussion to cover a variety of points relating to narrative, autobiography and (auto)ethnography in the study of religion. Featuring Dr Wendy Dossett, Prof. Elaine Graham, Dr Dawn Llewellyn, Ethan Quillen, and Dr Alana Vincent.