Centre for Religion and Public Life research clusters

Religion, Activism and Social Justice

The Centre for Religion and Public Life research explores the role of religious actors and beliefs in mobilisations for social change around a variety of socio-political categories, such as race, class, gender and sexuality, and concerns relating to climate change, development, human rights and multiculturalism.

Work in this area is multidisciplinary, making use of anthropological, sociological, philosophical and theological approaches, and concerns a wide range of global contexts. Overall it is characterised by a commitment to social justice and by innovative methodologies blurring the boundaries between academic research and activist engagement.


Postgraduate research students

  • Yahya Birt
  • Sofia Rehman

Key publications

  • Adriaan van Klinken, “Culture Wars, Race and Sexuality: A Nascent Pan-African LGBT Affirming Movement and the Future of Christianity”, Journal of Africana Religions 5/2 (2017), 217-238.
  • Rachel Muers and Rhiannon Grant, “Documentary Theology: Testing a New Approach to Texts in Religious Communities”, Journal of the American Academy of Religion (2017).
  • Emma Tomalin, Caroline Starkey and Anna Halafoff, “Cyber Sisters: Buddhist Women's Online Activism and Practice”, Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion vol. 6 (2015), 11-33.
  • Emma Tomalin, Handbook of Religions and Global Development (London: Routledge 2015).

Major projects

Stiebert is co-lead for The Shiloh Project, investigating intersections between rape cultures, religion and the Bible. Related to this, she is Primary Investigator of an AHRC Research Network Grant (International Highlight Notice), entitled ‘Resisting Gender-Based Violence and Injustice Through Activism with Bible Texts and Images’ (2018-2020), as well as Co-Investigator for grants funded by the White Rose Consortium (to establish a research network in Yorkshire, 2018-2019) and by the Worldwide Universities Network to work with academics and third-sector groups in Accra, Ghana (2018-2019) on issues of religion and gender-based violence.