Religious Studies

profile image for Professor Jeremy Carrette

Professor Jeremy Carrette

Professor of Religion and Culture and Head of Department

Religious Studies

Office: CGAN08

Current Research

My research examines interdisciplinary aspects of the study of religion and culture and focuses on questions of epistemology, power and the politics of knowledge. There are three main areas to my current work, covering my interests in religion, philosophy, politics and the history of ideas. First, I am completing two books on William James: William James and the Category of Religion (forthcoming) and William James on Religion for the Equinox series Key Thinkers in the Study of Religion, which completes a number of previous studies on James and religion. Second, I am working on a long term research project, started during my 2007 sabbatical on religion and globalization in relation to international institutions, with particular focus on Quakers and international relations. This has led to the development of an AHRC/ESRC 'Religion and Society' research project, with Professor Hugh Miall (Department of International Relations and Politics, University of Kent) and a team of international researchers, to examine the nature and effectiveness of religious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations. Finally, my work involves interdisciplinary links with projects in the Humanities at Kent on Cultural Memory and work in our departmental Centre for Religion in Contemporary Society.

Intellectual Formation and Previous Research

My academic formation focused on three specific areas: Christian ethics, the psychology of religion and the philosophy of religion. It began at Manchester University and was influenced by the social and pastoral theological thinking of Ronald Preston and Anthony Dyson, but I completed my undergraduate dissertation on religion and psychological theory in the Psychiatry department under direction of Robert Hobson. This early formation led me to consider the relationship between Jungian psychology and religion. I subsequently carried out research with Adrian Cunningham at Lancaster University on psychoanalytical theory and religious symbolism. Following a period of work with autistic children in London, I carried out doctoral research at King’s College, London, and the University of Manchester with Grace Jantzen. I had originally intended to study the relationship between madness and religious experience, but on discovering the work of Michel Foucault and post-structuralist theory my research was redirected to central themes in the philosophy of religion. This work then dominated my research for the next 10 years and resulted in the first English translation of papers by Foucault on religion and culture and a series of related studies followed: Foucault and Religion (Routledge 2000) and, with James Bernauer, Boston College, USA, Michel Foucault and Theology (Ashgate, 2004). Since establishing a critical methodology in the study of theology and religion from Foucault and post-structualist theory, I became interested in the relation between political and economic thought and religion and I sought to engage this thinking with my long term interest in the psychology of religion. Following work I had carried out to celebrate William James’s 1901-2 Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh (Routledge 2002 and 2005), I developed an initial political-economic reading of the psychology of religion in my 2002 Cunningham Lectures at Edinburgh University and extended this work with critical readings of cognitive science. I further explored the theme of economy in my political reading of spirituality with Professor Richard King (Vanderbilt University), Selling Spirituality (Routledge, 2005), which recognized a diverse set of discourses within spirituality from neo-liberal capitalism to engaged practices for social justice. The work linking political economy and the psychology of religion resulted in a critical reading of psychology and the development of an ethics of knowledge, which I put forward in my work Religion and Critical Psychology: Religious Experience in the Knowledge Economy (Routledge, 2007). The central themes of the work drew attention to the knowledge economy and, with my course on Religion and Globalization at the University of Kent, I developed research into the ethical problems of globalization. This has led to my present research on Quakers and religious ngos (outlined above). My concern is to examine the extent to which religious ngos can bring about change within international policy.

Research Supervision

I am interested in supervising research in the area of philosophy of religion (especially Michel Foucault and William James), Christian ethics, the psychology of religion, social and critical theory of religion; gender, sexuality and religion.I have supervised research students on the following areas: religion and postcolonial theory; Foucault and economics; Foucault, Near-Death Experience and critical psychology; and Heidegger and the ontology of work.I presently have research students working on gender and psychology, theory and method in the study of religion.I have been external examiner for the following areas of Master and PhD: Foucauldian models for religious dialogue (London University); Foucauldian method in religion (London University); Buddhism and Child developmental theory (Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia); the Internet and religion (University of Cape Town, South Africa); Mystical theology (University of Glasgow); Foucault and hospital chaplains (University of Sheffield).

Professional Activities

I am on the editorial board of Foucault Studies and a member of the advisory board of the Foucault Society. I have also appeared on Radio 4 and BBC television discussing issues related to capitalism and religion, and spirituality and advertising.

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  • William James on Religion: Belief, Experience and Plurality (forthcoming, Equinox, 2014)
  • William James’s Hidden Religious Imagination: A Universe of Relations (Routledge, 2013)
  • Religion and Critical Psychology: Religious Experience in the Knowledge Economy (Routledge, 2007)
  • Selling Spirituality: The Silent Take Over of Religion. With Professor Richard King (Vanderbilt University, USA). (Routledge, 2005)
  • Foucault and Religion: Spiritual Corporality and Political Spirituality (Routledge, 2000)

Edited Books

  • A Place of Springs: Death and the Displacement of Beauty Volume 3 by Grace Jantzen (posthhumous publication), joint edited and introduction with Morny Joy. (Routledge, 2009/2010). ISBN: 978-0-415-46999-9
  • Violence to Eternity by Grace Jantzen. Volume 2: Death and the Displacement of Beauty. Edited with Morny Joy (Routledge, 2010)
  • William James and The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Centenary Celebration Edited (Routledge, 2005)
  • Michel Foucault and Theology: The Politics of Religious Experience. Edited with Prof. James Bernauer SJ (Ashgate, London, 2004)
  • Special Centenary Anniversary edition of William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience Edited and new introduction with Prof. Eugene Taylor (Harvard University).(Routledge, June 2002; reprinted as Routledge Classic, 2008)
  • Religion and Culture By Michel Foucault [selected and edited, with introduction] UK publication - Manchester University Press. (August 1999) USA publication - Routledge, New York (September 1999)

Chapters in Books

  • 'In the Name of Life: Psychoanalysis and Jantzen's critique of Philosophy' in Natality and Necrophilia: Essays in Memory of Grace Jantzen ed. Elaine Graham (Ashgate. 2009) pp. ISBN
  • 'Post-Structuralism and the Study of Religion' in The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion ed. John Hinnells (London: Routledge, 2009) pp.274-290. ISBN 978-0-415-47328-6
  • 'Etudes religieuses comparatives et ethqiue de la connasissance: de la moralite des categories' in Comparer, les droits, resolument dir. Pierre Legrand (Presses Universitaires de France, Paris_ pp. 509-536 ISBN 978-13-055564-3
  • ‘Capitalist Worldviews 101: Spirituality and the Reconfiguration of Religion’ in Verter, B. & Wolfart, J. ed. Religion 101 (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
  • ‘Foucault, Monks and Masturbation’ in Body, Flesh and Text in French Literature ed. Tom Baldwin, James Fowler & Shane Weller, Scholars Press, 2007).
  • ‘William James and Emotion’ in Oxford Handbook on Religion and Emotion Edited John Corrigan (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • ‘Religion out of Mind: The Political Ideology of Cognitive Psychology and Religion’ in Soul, Psyche, Brain: New Directions in the Study of Religion and Brain-Mind Science Edited Kelly Bulkeley (Palgrave, 2005)
  • ‘Passionate Belief: William James, Religious Experience and Emotion’ in William James and The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Centenary Celebration Edited. (Routledge, 2005)
  • ‘Introduction’ for a new edition of The Dogma of Christ and other Essays on Religion, Psychology and Society by Erich Fromm (Routledge, 2004)
  • ‘Beyond Theology and Sexuality: Foucault, the Self and the Que(e)rying of Monotheistic Truth’ in Bernauer, J. and Carrette, J. Eds. Michel Foucault and Theology (Ashgate, 2004).
  • ‘The Return to James: Psychology, Religion and the Amnesia of Neuroscience’ in the Special Centenary Anniversary edition of William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience Edited and new introduction with Prof. Eugene Taylor (Harvard University).(Routledge, June 2002; forthcoming reprint as Routledge Classic, 2008)
  • ‘Post-Structuralism and the Psychology of Religion: The Challenge of Critical Psychology’ in Mapping Religion and Psychology Ed. Diane Jonte-Pace and William Parsons (Routledge, 2001) pp.110-126.
  • ‘Prologue to a Confession of the Flesh’ in Religion and Culture By Michel Foucault
    Ed. Jeremy Carrette. UK publication - Manchester University Press. (1999) USA publication - Routledge, New York (1999)


  • ‘Intense Exchange: Sadomasochism, Christianity and the Politics of Late Capitalism’ in Theology and Sexuality Sage, 2005, Vol. 11, number 2, pp.11-30. Reprinted in The Other Journal: An Intersection of Theology and Culture, No.7, Gender & Sexuality (
  • ‘Religion and Mestrovic’s Post-Emotional Society’ in Religion Vol. 34, 2004, pp. 271-289. (Paper originally presented to the Sociology of Religion Study Group, British Sociological Association in 2001.)
  • ‘Cyborg Politics and Economic Realities: Reflections on Elaine Graham’s Representations of the Post/Human in Theology and Sexuality Volume 10. No.2, 2004, pp.43-53
  • ‘Psychology, Spirituality and Capitalism: The Case of Abraham Maslow’ International Journal of Critical Psychology, Issue 8,‘Spirituality’ Edited Lisa Blackman, 2003, pp.73-95.
  • ‘Foucault, Strategic Knowledge and the Category of Religion: A Response to McCutcheon, Fitzgerald, Alles and King on my works Foucault and Religion and Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault in Culture and Religion (Spring 2001) Vol.2 No.1 pp.127-140. (Papers originally presented at the IHAR in Durban, South Africa, August 2000.)
  • ‘Religions, Orientation and Critical Theory: Race, Gender and Sexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference’ (with Dr. Mary Keller, Stirling University) Theology and Sexuality Vol.11, September 1999, pp.19-41.
  • ‘Male Theology in the Bedroom: Foucault, De Sade and the Body.’ in Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester Special Edition: Representation, Gender & Experience. Vol.8, no.3, Autumn 1998, pp.215-233.
  • ‘The Language of Archetypes: A Conspiracy in Psychological Theory.’ Harvest: Journal for Jungian Studies 1994 Vol.40. pp.168-192.
  • ‘The Psychology of Religion: Re-Examining the Psychological ‘Subject.’ Journal of the Psychology of Religion 1993-1994 Vol.2/3 pp.171-199.
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Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 20/12/2013