The Department of Religious Studies brings together leading researchers across a wide range of specialisms including biblical studies, Eastern and continental philosophy, and the sociology, anthropology and critical psychology of religion. We are developing the study of religion across these disciplinary boundaries, generating new insights and opening up new areas of interest. 

Our staff undertake research of international quality, write journal articles and books and are working at the forefront of the exciting new field of global philosophies. 

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), all aspects of our research environment were graded ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. 

world-leading experts

Our international lecturers are highly respected in their fields. All are active researchers who contribute to contemporary debates through their publications.

Black-and-white photo of child emigrés in late 1930s
Untitled (Four children with Fairbridge Farm suitcases) *** Local Caption *** Photograph (copied for Child Migration exhibition) Molong NSW. Relates Fairbridge Farm School, Molong NSW. Image depicts four children, two boys and two girls, carrying large suitcases down road. Inscribed on back 'SS ORONSAY 23 April 1938. L to R: Edward (Ted) Gamsley, Mary Simpson, Clara Park, Cyril Lord. Ted Gamsley is still alive and lives in Molong. The other three have passed away'..

Britain’s child migrants

Professor Gordon Lynch’s work explores the price children paid for their ‘new lives’

Research excellence

Religious Studies was ranked 7th in the UK in the most recent REF. Much of our research is interdisciplinary and our reputation for high-quality, impactful research continues to grow.

Dr Lois Lee, brown hair, black top, orange beads giving Think Kent lecture

Does religious unbelief exist?

Research Fellow Dr Lois Lee looks to define ‘unbelief’ and understand why it is on the rise

Our research: Making a difference

 We conduct high-quality research projects that engage wider communities with an understanding of the impact of religion in their lives.

Much of the research in the Department is interdisciplinary in nature, and staff are committed to the pioneering of new approaches and new methodologies. Our staff currently have research interests in:

  • theology and film
  • nostalgia
  • Buddhist and Asian traditions
  • New Age spiritualities
  • Biblical Studies (including both the Old and New Testaments)
  • interactions between medicine and Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism
  • the sacred in contemporary culture.

Our research projects have informed United Nations policy on NGOs, government policy on child migration, major exhibitions by the V&A Museum of Childhood, and even inspired a folk music CD. 

Members of the Department are leading a major research project on understanding unbelief to advance knowledge in understanding atheism, and studying the rise and popularity of mindfulness meditation practices.

The Department has attracted prestigious research awards from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the John Templeman Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.

Visit our People page to discover more about our academic staff, their interests and activities, and how to contact them.