Dean of Humanities

Professor Robert E Warner 

I was delighted to join the University of Chester in September 2009, as Head of Theology and Religious Studies and Professor of Religion, Culture and Society.

My research interests focus on the sociology of contemporary Christianity: secularization and pluralism in the British religious economy; contemporary socio-cultural modifications of religious traditions and practices; and the evolution of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

In August 2010 I became Dean of Humanities. I have two first class honours degrees, in English Literature and in Theology, two Masters, in early 20th century poetry and in Theology, and a PhD in Theology and Sociology of Religion. My vision is for the faculty to secure increasing recognition as an outstanding centre of excellence in teaching and research; we combine a consistently outstanding performance in the National Student Survey (well over 90% satisfaction rating in every department) with a rising reputation for research of international stature. Our academic teams are passionate about their subjects and caring towards their students. We are determined to continue to be a very popular university for undergraduate study, and we also expect to recruit growing numbers of MA and research students.

My research interests focus on the sociology of contemporary Christianity: secularization and pluralism in the British religious economy; contemporary socio-cultural modifications of religious traditions and practices; and the evolution of evangelicalism and fundamentalism. I am also working on the crises of faith explored in mid-Victorian literature. My latest monograph is Secularization and Its Discontents (Continuum, 2010), of which one leading academic has said, ‘It will have to be on recommended reading lists for all doing sociology of religion from now on.’

I was part of a research team, with colleagues from the Universities of Durham and Derby, that received a three-year award of £334,000 from the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society programme. We conducted an empirical study of Christian faith and the university experience, examining Roman Catholic, mainstream Protestant and evangelical student groups, and exploring ways in which being at university may modify, intensify, radicalize or marginalize religious allegiance and identity. Public engagement from this project includes University senior management, governing bodies and student support teams, Student Unions, chaplaincies, student-based religious organisations and churches. The main publication from this research was Christianity and the University Experience (Bloomsbury, 2013).

I am married to Claire and we enjoy walks in the country, gardening and classical concerts. My favourite city is Florence. My first career was in commercial publishing, and I look forward to combining academic and entrepreneurial initiatives for the advancement of the faculty.