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Professor Elaine Graham
Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology
As a practical theologian, I am interested in the relationship between beliefs and actions, and whether religious commitment really makes a difference in today’s world. In my teaching and research, I try to encourage people to connect the values of faith to a critical engagement with the dilemmas of everyday life.
BSc (Soc Sci) (Hons), Economic & Social History and Sociology, University of Bristol
MA (Theol), Social and Pastoral Theology, University of Manchester
PhD, University of Manchester
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)
My first degree was in social science, but my interest in theology (and especially its practical relevance) really sprang from my membership of the Student Christian Movement. My master’s dissertation explored how perceptions of the pastoral needs of women during the twentieth century tended to stereotype them as wives and mothers. For my PhD, I studied the impact of gender theory on the discipline of pastoral studies within the Western Christian tradition.
From there, via an interest in religion and the body, I started to think about the ways in which popular culture and scientific discourses provide the Western cultural imagination with all sorts of depictions of what it means to be human in a digital, biotechnological and cybernetic age. That interest continues in my work on media, culture and religion.
I have also contributed to the field of practical theology through my work with Heather Walton and Frances Ward on theological reflection.
I’m also interested in the political and public dimensions of religion: my work in urban theology has tried to bring traditions of Christian social thought to bear on the question, What Makes a Good City? More recently, I’ve been thinking about how the Church can better communicate its contribution to society at a time when there is renewed interest in religion as a global cultural force but an enduring scepticism as to the legitimacy of religious voices in public. My solution? To rethink public theology as a form of Christian apologetics.
As Canon Theologian at Chester Cathedral, I am President of Chester Theological Society, an ecumenical collaboration between the University of and Chester cathedral. For details of its programme, go it its events page.
Professional Doctorate Modules
Plus undergraduate, master’s, PhD and DProf dissertation supervision.
Contextual, Practical and Public Theologies
Media, culture and religion
Theology and Practice
Religion and public life, especially ‘post-secular’ public theology
Religion, culture and gender
Technology and the ‘posthuman’ condition
PhD and DProf Supervision
I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above, especially for students interested in pursuing research towards the degree of DProf; and from students wishing to explore other areas within Contextual, Practical and Public Theologies
|January-July 2009||Faith, Secularism and Public Policy seminar series, Economic and Social Research Council (£14,000).|
|Oct 2007-July 2009||Promoting Greater Human Wellbeing: Interacting the Happiness Hypothesis and Religion Collaborative Research Network, AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme (£23,400).|
|2007-2010||Collaborative Doctoral Studentship (jointly with British Sign Language Biblical Translation Project), Arts & Humanities Research Council (£36, 000).|
|2004-05||Communities in Transition, project on faith-based organizations’ responses to local economic and demographic change, Church Urban Fund (£20,000).|
Monographs and jointly-authored works
|2013||Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in a Post-Secular Age. London: SCM Press, September 2013.
|2009||with Stephen R. Lowe, What Makes a Good City? Public Theology and the Urban Church. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2009.|
|2005||with Heather Walton and Frances Ward, Theological Reflection: Methods, London: SCM Press, 2005.|
|2002||Representations of the Post/Human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture. Studies in Religion, Culture and Gender, Manchester University Press and Rutgers University Press, 2002.|
Transforming Practice: Pastoral Theology in an Age of Uncertainty. London: Mowbray, 1996; reprinted 2002.
|1995||Making the Difference: Gender, Personhood and Theology. London: Mowbray and Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995.|
|2010||(with J.R. Atherton and I. Steedman), The Practices of Happiness: Political Economy, Religion and Wellbeing. Routledge, 2010.|
|2009||(ed.) Grace Jantzen: Redeeming the Present. London: Ashgate, 2009.|
|2009||(with P.M. Scott and C.R. Baker) Remoralizing Britain? Political, Ethical and Theological perspectives on New Labour. London and New York: Continuum, 2009.|
|2007||(with H. Walton and F. Ward) Theological Reflection: Sources. London: SCM Press, 2007.|
|1993||(with Margaret Halsey) Life-Cycles: Women and Pastoral Care. London: SPCK, 1993.|
Other Selected Publications since 2008
In edited collections:
|2013||‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in the United Kingdom’ in H. Bedford-Strohm, F. Höhne and T. Reitmeier, eds. Contextuality and Intercontextuality in Public Theology (121-135), Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2013.|
|2011||‘Religious Literacy and Public Service Broadcasting: Introducing a Research Agenda’, in ed. G. Lynch and J. Mitchell, Religion, Media and Culture: a Reader (228-235), London: Routledge, 2011.|
|2011||‘Feminist Theory’, in ed. B.M. Miller-McLemore, Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (204-213), Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 2011.|
|2011||‘Theology, Place and Human Flourishing’ in ed. M. Higton, Theology and Human Flourishing: Essays in Honour of Timothy Gorringe (265-279), Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2011.|
|2011||‘Establishment, Multiculturalism and Social Cohesion’, in eds. M. Chapman, J. Maltby and W. Whyte, The Established Church: Past, Present and Future (124-140), Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2011.|
|2011||(with Andrew Davey), ‘Inhabiting the Good City: the Politics of Hate and the Urbanisms of Hope’, in eds. C. Baker and J. Beaumont, Post-Secular Cities (120-134), London: Continuum, 2011.|
|2010||‘The Virtuous Circle: religion and the practices of happiness’ in eds. J.R. Atherton, E.L. Graham and I. Steedman, The Practices of Happiness: Political Economy, Religion and Wellbeing (224-234), London: Routledge, 2010.|
|2009||‘Redeeming the Present’ in ed. E.L. Graham, Grace Jantzen: Redeeming the Present (1-11), London: Ashgate, 2009.|
|2009||‘Doing God? Public Theology under Blair’ in eds. Peter M. Scott, Chris R. Baker and Elaine L. Graham, Remoralizing Britain? (1-18), Continuum, 2009.|
|2013||‘Things can only get better: Practical Theology as Action Research’, International Journal of Practical Theology (Berlin: de Gruyter), 17.1, 2013.|
|2012||‘The Archbishop Speaks, But Who Is Listening? The Dilemmas of Public Theology Today’, Ecclesiology 8 (2012), 200–222.|
|2012||‘From Where Does the Red Tory Speak? Phillip Blond, Theology and Public Discourse’, Political Theology 13.3, (2012), 292-307.|
|2012||‘A Remembrance of Things (Best) Forgotten: the ‘allegorical past’ and the feminist imagination’, Feminist Theology, 21(1), 2012, 58–70.|
|2012||‘What’s Missing? Gender, Reason and the Post-Secular’, Political Theology 13.2, 2012: 233-45.|
|2011||‘Frailty and Flourishing: Response to Alister McGrath’, Practical Theology 4.3, 2011, 333-338.|
|2009||‘A Window on the Soul: Four Politicians on Politics and Religion’ International Journal of Public Theology 3 (2), 2009, 141-160.|
|2009||‘Being, making and imagining: toward a practical theology of technology’, Culture and Religion 10 (2), 2009, 221-236.|
|2009||‘Health, Wealth or Wisdom? Religion and the Paradox of Prosperity’, International Journal of Public Theology 3 (1), 2009, 5-23.|
|2008||‘Why Practical Theology Must Go Public’, Practical Theology 1.1, 2008, 11-14.|
|2008||‘Rethinking the Common Good: Theology and the Future of Welfare’ Colloquium 40 (2), 2008, 133-156.|
|2008||‘What Makes a Good City? Reflections on Urban Life and Faith’ International Journal of Public Theology 2 (1), 2008, 7-26.|