John Wolffe is Professor of Religious History at the Open University, where he has taught since 1990. He was Sub-Dean (Research and Quality Assurance) of the Faculty of Arts from 1994 to 1997 and Head of the Department of Religious Studies from 1998 to 2001. His research interests all relate in some way to interactions between religion and national identity in the North Atlantic world since the late eighteenth century, with a particular interest in Evangelicalism. His most recent publications include Great Deaths: Grieving, Religion and Nationhood in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (2000) and The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers and Finney (2006).
"History can be of tremendous value for a society that is looking for roots... and can sometimes be a bit uncritical in its search for roots. People want an identity and may be clutching at something that can be a bit confrontational, for example, Muslims looking for an identity rooted in current conflicts in the Middle East, rather than reflecting on what is quite a long-standing presence in British society and culture."