Dr Chris Deacy
Reader in Theology and Religious Studies
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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: www.kent.ac.uk/secl/thrs/news/index.html?view=5874.back to top
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Chris Deacy teaches modules on religion and film and on Christianity in the modern world.back to top