This project aims to address issues around sustained inequality and discrimination as experienced by minorities and women on Indian campuses.
Faith and Peaceful Relations
Faith and Peaceful Relations (FPR) researches religion in order to work for peace and build social justice. At FPR we uncover and explore the important yet often unrecognised ways in which religious and non-religious belief contribute to justice and injustice in society. We aim to answer philosophical and practical questions to critically examine the role of religious and spiritual practices and beliefs in contemporary society.
The video below is from our AHRC funded Re/presenting Islam on Campus that aimed to build understanding, dialogue and narratives of inclusion on campus.
About our group
In the words of various FPR colleagues: ‘To undertake and promote academically rigorous research into the relationships between religion (or faith or belief) and peaceful relations’. (Lucy Peacock) ‘The group is about enabling people of all faiths and none to reflect on how to live together without violence.’ (Laura Payne) ‘The group engages in research that can inform society, develop understanding between faith and society, as well as between different positions of faith and belief, in order to create more harmonious and peaceful relationships in the world.’ (Dilwar Hussain)
We also believe that research can help to build social justice. Stephanie Denning, describing her and Chris Shannahan’s Life on the Breadline research, said ‘the Life on the Breadline research aims to understand how churches are responding to UK poverty in order to better inform government policy making and reduce UK inequality.’
Our academic rigour comes from a wide disciplinary base, including politics, international relations, sociology, experimental psychology, Islamic studies, theology, religious studies media & communications & geography. The theologians among us have a clear sense of vital place theology has. As Chris puts it, in the group ‘theology can be a force for social justice.’
We want to be both academically critical & practically engaged (Paul Weller tells us, ‘the group aspires to take both a properly critical & practically engaged approach’). We want to write journal articles & books that help people understand religion but also achieve impact in society & in grassroots communities.
What impact do we want to achieve? In addition to academic knowledge, it’s peaceful coexistence between individuals & communities. As Mabel Alkali put it, ‘The group aims to carry out impactful research…that will enable peaceful understanding and coexistence within diverse faith groups, people of faith and the secular world’.
We work alongside local or religious communities. In our analysis of religion we hear lesser-heard voices, for example women, children and the economically deprived, and explore their roles in the intellectual and social ‘production’ and transformation of religion’ (Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor). ‘We strive to stand with and empower people who have been left out or left behind & to use our research alongside faith communities to speak truth to power’ (Chris Shannahan).
The Faith & Peaceful Relations group undertakes research with, on and for people of all faiths and none. Our group has a strong sense that we can contribute new knowledge & practical impacts in today’s world – our research can make the world a better place, and this is why we do it.
Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Assistant Professor, Research Group LeaderIslam, Muslim women, feminism, digital methodologies, religion in higher, religion and non-religion in Britain
Chris Shannahan , Associate Professor
Religion and politics, religion and multiculturalism, theology and poverty, secularisation, hip-hop
Dilwar Hussain, Research Fellow
Islam, contextual theology, extremism, radicalisation, British Muslims, urban theology
Jonathan Jong, Assistant ProfessorDeath anxiety, Religious belief, Ritual behaviour, Social psychology, Experimental psychology, Evolutionary psychology
Kristin Aune, ProfessorReligion in higher education, sociology of religion, gender, feminism, secularism, chaplaincy
Laura Payne, Research Fellow
Faith-based peacebuilding, religious violence, conflict transformation, civil society, youth, peace processes
Liyanaarachchige Perera, Visiting Fellow
Lucy Peacock, Research FellowReligion and Higher Education, Interfaith Encounters
Miguel Farias, Associate ProfessorSocial cognition, Psychology of belief, Personality and mental health
Paul Weller, Professor
Religion, state and society
Serena Hussain, Associate ProfessorSocial and spatial trends of Muslims; South Asian diasporas; minority group identity & mobilisation
Stephanie Denning, Assistant ProfessorPoverty, Food poverty, Holiday hunger, Volunteering, Christianity, Faith-based social action, Affect theory
Valerie van Mulukom, Research FellowBelief, Cognitive science of religion, Imagination, Episodic memory, Creativity, Unbelief, Secular beliefs, Worldviews, Intuition, Social bonding
The project will investigate and identify the human, financial and organisational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Christian Faith-Based Organisation service sector.
A 3 year ESRC-funded project analysing the nature, scope and impact of Christian engagement with urban poverty in the UK in the context of austerity since the 2008 financial crisis.
This project looks at how religiously-related modest fashion and associated behaviours impact on UK women's working lives – regardless of their own religious community or beliefs.
- Scott-Baumann, A. Guest, M., Naguib, S., Cheruvallil-Contractor, S. and Phoenix, A. (2020-forthcoming) Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education London: Oxford University Press
- Weller, P.; Purdam, K. and Ghanea, N. and Cheruvallil-Contractor, S. (2014) Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts. London & New York: Continuum
- Shannahan, C (2014). A Theology of Community Organizing: Power to the People. London: Routledge
- Cheruvallil-Contractor, S. (2012) Muslim Women in Britain: Demystifying the Muslimah. London & New York: Routledge
- Shannahan, C (2010), Voices from the Borderland: Re-imagining Cross-cultural Urban Theology in the twenty-first century. London: Equinox
- Jong, J., & Halberstadt, J. (2016). Death anxiety and religious belief: an existential psychology of religion. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
- Farias, M. & Wikholm, C. (2019, 2nd edition). The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? London: Watkins.
- Weller, P. (2009), A Mirror for our Times: ‘The Rushdie Affair’ and the Future of Multiculturalism, London: Continuum.
- Guest, M., Aune, K., Sharma, S. and Warner, R. (2013) Christianity and the University Experience: Understanding Student Faith, London: Bloomsbury
- Aune, K. & Holyoak (2018) ‘Navigating the third wave: Contemporary UK feminist activists and “third-wave feminism”’ Feminist Theory 19(2): 183-203
- Cheruvallil-Contractor, S., (2020) ‘Women in Britain’s First Mosques: Hidden from History, but Not without Influence’ Religions 2020, 11, 62
- Shannahan, C. (2019). The Violence of Poverty: Theology and Activism in an 'Age of Austerity'. Political Theology, 20(3), 243-261.
- Denning, S. (2020) ‘Religious Faith, Effort and Enthusiasm: Motivations to Volunteer in Response to Holiday Hunger’ Cultural Geographies,
- Jong, J., Baimel, A., Ross, R., McKay, R., Bluemke, M., & Halberstadt, J. (2020). Traumatic life experiences and religiosity in eight countries. Scientific Data, 7, 140. doi:10.1038/s41597-020-0482-y
- Farias, M. & Newheiser, A. (2019). The effects of belief in God and science on acute stress. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6, 214-223.
- Weller, P. (2016). Balancing Within Three Dimensions: Christianity. Secularity and Religious Plurality in Social Policy and Theology. Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 26, 2, 131-146.
- Hussain, Dilwar, “Towards a British Islam”, in Interreligous Insight, Vol 17, No 1 (June 2019).
- Payne, L. (2020) What can Faith-Based Forms of Conflict Prevention Teach Us About Liberal Peace?’ Religions, Vol. 11, No. 4.
- van Mulukom, V. (2019). The Cognitive Science of Imagination and Religion. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion 5(1), 5-20.
- Aune, K. (2017) How can universities tackle religious discrimination? Guardian 13th April 2017
- Aune, K. & Peacock, L. (2020) Tackling religion and belief-related harassment in universities Advance HE 31st March
- Cheruvallil-Contractor, S. (2020) “The forgotten women who helped to build British Islam” in The Conversation, 6th March 2020
- Cheruvallil-Contractor, S. and Halford, A (2019) “4,500 Muslim children in care in Britain” in The Muslim News, 25th October 2019
- Denning, S. (2019) ‘A benefit that harms, not helps’, Church Times, Comment feature
- Shannahan, C (2019), ‘How churches are in the vanguard of the struggle to defeat poverty’. The Big Issue.
- Farias, M. & Wikhom, C. (2015). Meditation has lost its Buddhist roots and it may not be doing you good. The Conversation.
- Weller, P. (2020), Comment on “German Catholic Bishops’ Document on the Second World War”, 2nd May 2020.
- van Mulukom, V. (2018), The secret to creativity – according to science. The Conversation.
- van Mulukom, V. (2020), How non-religious worldviews provide solace in times of crisis. The Conversation.