Religious Studies

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Dr Chris Deacy

Reader in Theology and Religious Studies

Office: Cornwallis West CG34

Office hours: Friday 10.00-11.00


I am Reader in Theology and Religious Studies, and have been at Kent since 2004. Since 2013 I have 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 I taught in the University of Wales, from where I also obtained my BA Theology, MA ‘Death and Immortality’ and PhD ‘Redemption and Film’.

I have written five monographs, co-edited three books and written over 20 articles to date. My most recent monograph, Christmas as Religion, published byOxford University Press in August 2016, takes issue with traditional ways of conceptualizing 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, I argue 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. This 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 secularized milieu.
I am currently working on a project on memory, nostalgia and radio in which I will posit that we need to move away from conventional binary language in order to develop a more sophisticated and realistic understanding of where religion can be encountered, with the ‘virtual ritual’ of radio shaping the format and content of contemporary religion.

I have given a number of interviews to the press and radio, including in April 2016 a wide-ranging 90-minute online interview to the American-based arts website Cosmoetica on the topic of death and the afterlife:

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Deacy, C. (2016). Christmas as Religion: Rethinking Santa, the Secular, and the Sacred. [Online]. Oxford University Press. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2012). Screening the Afterlife: Theology, Eschatology and Film. Abingdon: Routledge.
Deacy, C. and Ortiz, G. (2007). Theology and Film: Challenging the Sacred/Secular Divide. [Online]. Oxford: Blackwell. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2005). Faith in Film: Religious Themes in Contemporary Cinema. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
Deacy, C. (2001). Screen Christologies: Redemption and the Medium of Film. Cardiff, UK: University of Wales Press.
Edited book
Deacy, C. and Vollmer, U. eds. (2011). Seeing Beyond Death: Images of the Afterlife in Theology and Film. Marburg: Schüren Verlag.
Deacy, C. and Arweck, E. eds. (2009). Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Deacy, C. (2013). The 'religion' of Christmas. Journal of Scandinavian Cinema 3:195-207.
Deacy, C. (2011). Is Film the New Religion? Sociology Review 20:2-5.
Deacy, C. (2009). Using Film in Theology and Religious Studies. Religion Compass [Online] 3:909-919. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2006). Redemption Revisited: Doing Theology at Shawshank. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 21 (2):149-162. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2006). Reflections on the Uncritical Appropriation of Cinematic Christ-Figures: Holy Other or Wholly Inadequate? Journal of Religion and Popular Culture [Online] XIII. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2002). Integration and Rebirth through Confrontation: Fight Club and American Beauty as Contemporary Religious Parables. Journal of Contemporary Religion 17:61-74.
Book section
Deacy, C. (2013). Cape Fear; Gran Torino. in: Reinhartz, A. ed. Bible and Cinema: FIfty Key Films. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 55-60.
Deacy, C. (2011). Applying Redemption through Film: Challenging the Sacred-Secular Divide. in: Escape Routes: Contemporary Perspectives on Life After Punishment. London: Routledge, pp. 22-42.
Deacy, C. (2011). Apocalypse Now? Towards a Cinematic Realized Eschatology. in: Deacy, C. and Vollmer, U. eds. Seeing Beyond Death: Images of the Afterlife in Theology and Film. Marburg: Schüren Verlag, pp. 67-81.
Deacy, C. (2009). Introduction: Why Study Religion and Popular Culture? in: Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 1-22.
Deacy, C. (2009). Redemption. in: Lyden, J. ed. The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film. London & New York: Routledge, pp. 351-367. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2008). The Pedagogical Challenges of Finding Christ Figures in Film. in: Watkins, G. ed. Teaching Religion and Film. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 129-140.
Deacy, C. (2008). 'Escaping' from the World Through Film: Theological Perspectives on the 'Real' and the 'Reel'. in: Hallback, G. and Hvithamar, A. eds. Recent Releases: The Bible in Contemporary Cinema. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, pp. 12-29.
Deacy, C. (2007). From Bultmann to Burton, Demythologizing the Big Fish: The Contribution of Modern Christian Theologians to the Theology-Film Conversation. in: Johnston, R. K. ed. Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, pp. 238-258.
Deacy, C. (2003). Paradise Lost or Paradise Learned?: Sin and Salvation in Pleasantville. in: Mediating Religion: Conversations in Media, Religion and Culture. London: T&T Clark, pp. 201-210.
Deacy, C. (2011). Review of Roy M. Anker, 'Of Pilgrims and Fire: When God Shows Up at the Movies'. Modern Believing:50-53.
Deacy, C. (2008). Review of Greg Garrett, 'The Gospel According to Hollywood'. Third Way [Online] 31:39. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2007). Review of Melanie J. Wright, 'Religion and Film: An Introduction'. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 22:397-399. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2006). Review of J. Shawn Landres & Michael Berenbaum (eds.), 'After the Passion is Gone: American Religious Consequences' (AltaMira, Walnut Creek, California, 2004). Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 21:122-124. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2005). Review of Robin Riley, 'Film, Faith and Cultural Conflict: The Case of Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ'. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 20:262-264. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2005). Review of E. Runions, 'How Hysterical: Identification and Resistance in the Bible and Film'. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 20:130-131. Available at:
Deacy, C. (2018). Religion on the Radio: Using Christmas religious broadcasting to reframe the sacred-secular interface. Implicit Religion.
Total publications in KAR: 29 [See all in KAR]
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Chris Deacy teaches modules on religion and film and on Christianity in the modern world.

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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: 17/10/2018