Thomas White is a PhD candidate in the Religions Programme at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Dr Ben Schonthal and Dr John Shaver. His PhD is investigating the historic interweaving of politics and Christianity in Fiji, and the serial attempts of Fiji's various constitution-drafters, ever-seeking to turn Fiji into a modern, multicultural and politically stable nation-state, to unpick this dynamic. Prior to Otago, Thomas was a lecturer in Ethics and Governance at the Fiji National University (2012-2015), and has Masters degrees from Durham University (2011) and Edinburgh University (2006).
Following his Albert Moore Memorial Lecture at Otago University, celebrating 50 years of Religious Studies at Otago, Professor Wesley Wildman talks to Thomas White regarding the integration of the sciences and the humanities in his bio-cultural approach to the study of religion.
In Professor Brian S. Turner’s RSP podcast interview with Sammy Bishop, a rallying cry for the relevance of sociology of religion rang out. In the aftermath of 9/11, it was the rush to understand Islamic terrorism that re-centred the study of religion in the social sciences. Now, Turner argues,...
In this interview Associate Professor Will Sweetman talks to Thomas White about the idea that ‘Hinduism’ and many of the other terms we use to classify religions—including the term religion itself—are modern inventions, emerging out of nineteenth-century inter-cultural contact and European colonialism. Will argues against this critique, and to make his case he draws on historical sources that discuss ‘Hinduism’ both outside of the anglophone ...
In this podcast Professor Joe Bulbulia of Auckland University speaks to Thomas White about situating the study of religion within a broader concept of ‘justice’. Bulbulia calls ‘religion and spirituality those features of nature [in the biocultural sense of the word] that combine to cultivate a sense of justice in people’. Bulbulia argues that common across human societies are conceptions of obligation and responsibility:
Why attend conferences? What is the point? What else could we do instead that might be a better use of our time? And how did we find having a fully-functional podcast studio set up at this conference? These are just a few of the issues that crop up in this lively roundtable discussion, facilitated by the inestimable Moritz Klenk.
Following on from the delivery of her conference paper at the EASR 2018 in Bern, in this podcast, Professor Marion Maddox of Macquarie University speaks to Thomas White regarding the historical, national and regional differences in the presence of religion in Australian and New Zealand schools.
In this podcast, taking place on the last day of the Annual EASR Conference in Bern, Dr Philipp Hetmanczyk and Martin Bürgin of Zurich University talk to Thomas White about the Therwil Affair, a controversy that emerged in 2016 after two Swiss Muslim schoolboys declined to shake hands with their female teacher.