PG students

A number of our current postgraduate students are working within the area of critical religion, covering a wide range of topics and drawing on staff working specifically in critical religion as well as others, demonstrating the multidisciplinary approaches involved.  Listed here are:

Enquiries about postgraduate study are very welcome.

E. C. Erdmann

My research interests are in the areas of thealogy, theology and cross-cultural religious experiences. My work is dedicated to taking all the thea/theo-logically orphaned, marooned or in-between seriously by creatively naming, and highlighting, what I refer to as ‘Nomadic Theology’. I am also an active member of a Priestess circle and Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Society.

Supervisors: Alison Jasper, Timothy Fitzgerald

Rajalakshmi Kannan

I am a second year PhD student from India. I graduated with an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from University of Madras, India and in Communication from University of Maine, U.S.A. I moved to Scotland to get my PhD at the University of Stirling. My dissertation looks at the problems in copyrighting South Indian music, which has, traditionally, been shared by community as a collective knowledge not owned by one individual. With music being passed onto next generation through oral tradition, in which the teachers embody the music and the ‘divine,’ copyright laws promote commodification of arts. I specifically look at Karnatic music, Tamil folk music and Tamil film music; however, modern understanding of these three ‘types’ of music are based on the distinction ‘religion’ and ‘secular.’ Such divisions have led to caste-based and gender-based music learning, performing and experiencing practices influenced by colonial understanding of Tamil Nadu’s caste hierarchies and establishing religion of India as a ‘Hinduism’ and modern discourses emulating that of the colonizers. A part of my research was presented at the Postcolonial Studies Association Conference held at University of Stirling in May 2010.

Supervisors: Timothy Fitzgerald, Michael Marten

Rebecca Kirk

Rebecca Kirk is from Oregon, USA and has earned undergraduate degrees in Biblical studies and theology there.  Her current research interests explore the relationship between male American Evangelical Christian understandings of God and women.  She is looking at how traditional Western Christian idealizations of God have influenced male concepts of woman and vice versa.

Supervisors: Alison Jasper, Timothy Fitzgerald

Inbal Livne

My background is in archaeology, which I studied at undergraduate and masters level, after which I held various archivist and museum assistant posts in London. Before starting my PhD, I worked at the National Museums Scotland for five years, as Assistant Curator for East and Central Asia. My current studies focus on the Tibetan collections of that museum, and other museums in Scotland, and the use of such material in interpreting the relationships collectors had with the societies they encountered. My research focuses on the decades around the turn of the 20th century, in which British-Tibetan relations took a distinct political and cultural turn. I am especially interested in the differences in collecting strategies between ‘official’ colonial personnel, such as soldiers and political agents, and ‘independent’ travellers and missionaries. In particular, I wish to examine the different approaches used by these distinct groups of British agents to explain Tibetan Buddhism to the general public through the use of Tibetan material culture and the influence Christianity had on the formation of such ideas.  My work is being funded by a Collaborative Doctoral Award from the AHRC to the University and the National Museum of Scotland.

Supervisors: Timothy Fitzgerald, Michael Marten

Mauro Di Lullo

After obtaining an LLB with Honours from Strathclyde University, I studied and achieved an MRes in Law at Glasgow University in 2010.
My main interests are related to Maurice Blanchot, Martin Heidegger and their conception of politics and the political.
My works on these themes and authors have already been accepted in several Academic Conferences worldwide.
Politics and the concept of the political beyond metaphysics are explored in my search for a New International: both elements will be part of the Civitate Dei on earth.
My work is about freedom and justice in Blanchot. In my thesis I offer a defense of Blanchot’s conception of freedom. In this defense I will question whether freedom is exclusively human freedom. I argue that there is an ethical dimension to Blanchot’s conception of freedom: its significance will be further explored in my quest for a New International. By going beyond the human in relation to freedom, Maurice Blanchot designs an absolute, unconditioned and un-conditional ethical concern for the other beyond narrow, constricted and contracted conceptions of subjectivity and existence.
Through a close engagement with Blanchot’s on freedom and justice, I will make an attempt to reconsider and re-evaluate the concept of ‘Blanchot’s communism of writing’ as a ‘measure’ in my quest for a New International.

Supervisors: Andrew Hass, Bill Marshall

Rasa Luzyte

Rasa is presently taking a year’s leave of absence. Her project is concerned with identifying persistent – primarily European – traditions of the goddess and of female power. Rasa sees these emerging for example in prehistoric matriarchies as unearthed by the Lithuanian archaeologist, Marita Gimbutas, in the ancient and widespread worship of the Virgin Mary, and in oral traditions of fairy or folk tales.

Supervisors: Alison Jasper, Andrew Hass

Paige Medlock

Paige earned her BA in Art Education with an emphasis in stained glass at Asbury University before going on to earn a master’s in cross-cultural missions at Asbury Theological Seminary. After teaching art for nine years at various levels she moved from Kentucky to Scotland and completed the MLitt in Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen before beginning a practice-based PhD at the University of Stirling. She has shown stained glass, photography, and mixed media works in personal and collective exhibits and has co-created three significant stained glass installations. She has presented on themes of art and advocacy, aesthetics and theology, as well as methods and materials. She is currently in her second year of research at Stirling focusing on the redemptive work of art, considering the stained glass of Marc Chagall and aesthetic theory in continental philosophy. She is interested in the reflective interface of art in theological thinking and ethical implications, and her research bridges Critical Religion and Visual Culture at the University of Stirling.

Supervisors: Andrew Hass, Andrew Ginger

Kat Neumann

I’ve studied with the SLCR since 2005 and am now enrolled for a PhD under the supervision of Dr Andrew Hass and Dr Alison Jasper. The topic of my thesis centres on the poetic work of the German theologian Dorothee Sölle (1929-2003). Accentuating prayer as a form of poetry, she linked her theological outlook with her literary work, emphasising the role of art to theology in encounter with post-Christian reality. My project aims at tracing the implications for such a correlation and by what means it builds up a post-Christian spiritual identity that can establish the believer within a world increasingly hostile to traditional forms of worship and religious institutions, while remaining of social significance.

Supervisors: Andrew Hass, Alison Jasper

Francis Stewart

I grew up in Northern Ireland leaving at 18 to go to university in England to study religious studies and english literature, as it was then impossible to do a course on comparative or world religions in Northern Ireland. I followed this with a PGCE in religious studies and 7 years teaching RS at high school level. In 2006 I moved from England to Scotland and undertook a Masters in Theology at the University of Glasgow, this was then followed by a PhD at Stirling, which is now coming to its conclusion with an imminent submission of thesis.

My main focus of research interest for my PhD has been on the intersection of emerging spiritualities, religion and subcultures. In particular I have focused on the subculture I belong to which is Straight Edge punk, a subset of hardcore punk, as a surrogate for religion. This has entailed examining the ever broadening field of religion and secular, sacred and profane, notions of the self, the concept of authenticity and a link between rapture, punk music and religion. I am particularly interested in examining religion and spirituality as it can and does exist outside of institutions, dogma (sometimes even doctrine) and mainstream society, particularly amongst those for whom religion is a best a problematic notion and at worst a pernicious influence best removed from society.

Supervisors: Andrew Hass, Alison Jasper

Jonathan Tuckett

I am a first year PhD student with a background that consists of an MA (Hons) in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an Msc in Religious Studies at Edinburgh. I am also a part of the team at the Religious Studies Project. My area of research is based around the phenomenological method. My thesis aims to show that the phenomenology of religion which once dominated religious studies needs to be placed in the context of the wider philosophical Phenomenological Movement. The phenomenology of religion is not an entity in its own right but part of a much wider and significantly broader movement. I argue that it must be remembered that phenomenology is not just applicable to religions but to all phenomena. The purpose of this study is to restate the phenomenological method for the study of any phenomena based on a full understanding of the Movement. In so doing I intend to divorce the notion that phenomenology is tied to the preservation of the term “religion,” and that it is in reality an unbiased methodology for the study of phenomena that can be employed by any number of disciplines. Phenomenology, I maintain, is not only in line with the ethos of Critical Religions but in fact predates it with Husserl, phenomenology’s founder, demanding that no term be accepted until it has been subjected to rigorous scrutiny.

Supervisor: Timothy Fitzgerald

Shani Zour

My background is in Religious Studies (BA Hons Stirling) and Social Anthropology (MSc Edinburgh). My research interest is with the Tumbuka speaking people of Usisya (northern Malawi). I am exploring the links between the history of Malawi and the way in which HIV and AIDS is understood, by looking into HIV and AIDS faith healing, such as vimbuza healing rituals and Pentecostal spirit possession.

Supervisors: Tim Fitzgerald, Michael Marten


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