Dr Chris Deacy is a Reader in Theology and Religious Studies, and has been at the University of Kent since 2004. Since 2013, he has been Senior Tutor for the School of European Culture and Languages, and previously served as the School’s Director of Learning and Teaching, and as Head of Religious Studies.
Before coming to Kent, Chris taught at the University of Wales where he obtained his BA in Theology, MA in 'Death and Immortality’ and PhD, with a thesis in ‘Redemption and Film’.
Chris has written five monographs, co-edited three books and written over 20 articles to date. His most recent monograph, Christmas as Religion, published by Oxford University Press, takes issue with traditional ways of conceptualising the relationship between Christmas and religion. Instead of associating ‘religion’ with formal or institutional forms of Christianity or seeing Christmas as a commercial and secular holiday, Chris argues that it is in a supernaturally-themed Christmas film about Santa or a Christmas radio programme such as BBC Radio 2’s Christmas Junior Choice that matters of faith, identity, beliefs and values – traditionally seen as lying within the domain of ‘religion’ – are played out in the world today.
His research offers a new take on established literature on the relationship between Christmas and religion, including a revisiting of the way Durkheim and Eliade have understood the location of the sacred-profane interface, and presents a detailed, critical study of the paradox that Christmas movies are spaces in which the transcendent appears in an otherwise secularised milieu.
Chris is also currently working on a project on nostalgia and religion, which is supplemented by a podcast series called ‘Nostalgia’. The inspiration for this series of interviews comes from underlying questions such as: What is it that shapes us? What propelled us into persevering with our studies and then to want to impart that knowledge and enthusiasm to subsequent generations of students? How did we end up where we are – not just the books we read and the ones we wanted to write ourselves, but what influenced us in terms of the music, the films, the sporting events and the relationships and family members that brought us to where we are now? These interviews are unscripted and take the form of a free-flowing conversation with a range of guests, both within and outside of academia, and are inspired by the great radio interviews Chris grew up listening to when he was in his teens and early twenties.
Chris teaches a range of topics including religion and film and Christianity in the modern world.