Professor Emma Tomalin


I am a sociologist of religion/religious studies scholar whose work is focused on the broad area of religion and public life. I have a long standing interest in religions and global development, including the gender dimensions of this relationship. More recently, I have been involved in projects that also engage with the role of faith actors in humanitarian action, peacebuilding and health. I have mainly worked in South and South East Asia, and more recently East Africa. Closer to home, I have carried out research on the role of faith actors in public life in the UK, in terms of the anti-trafficking and modern slavery domain as well as the relevance of local faith communities to public health. 


  • Programme Manager for Theology and Religious Studies Undergraduate Programmes
  • Tutor for Theology and Religious Studies Research Post-Graduates

Research interests

I am part of a number of groups that focus on issues to do with religions and development. Please see here for further details and contact me if you are interested in finding out more or getting involved:

I am co-convenor of a study group in the UK Development Studies Association (DSA) on 'Religions and Development'. 

I am co-chair of the International Development and Religion programme unit of the American Academy of Religion.

I am co-chair of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communty’s (JLI) Hub on Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. Please see here for our latest study. 

I have launched a new mailing list to connect people interested in religions and development. To join this list please sign up here.

Current reserarch projects:

I am currently Principle Investigator on a project funded by AHRC/GCRF ‘The hidden peacebuilders: from ambivalence to engagement, strengthening the role of local faith actors in peacebuilding and reconciliation’ working in South Sudan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Please contact me for further details. 

I am currently Co-Investigator on an ESRC funded project called ‘Understanding the Role of Faith Based Organisations in Anti-Trafficking in the UK’. Our latest report can be read here.

I am currently Co-Investigator on a project funded by the British Academy called ‘Sustainable development for pastoralist women in India:  heritage, dignity and adaptations in times of rapid change’. Please contact me for further details. 

Recent research projects

‘Bridging the Gap the Role of Local Faith Actors in Humanitarian Response in South Sudan’ (Funded by Belgian Gov.) with JLI, RedR, Tearfund and Islamic Relief World Wide. Read the report here. 

AHRC Network:(with Jorg Haustein, Cambridge University) Keeping Faith in 2030: Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals. The project website can be accessed here.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Religion and Public Life
  • Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>