Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies
I focus on the critical analysis of ‘indigeneity’ and other categories, such as ‘religion’, and their contested usages by different groups, combining anthropological research methods with discourse analysis. More recently, I have been researching British Druidry (and Paganism more generally) in relation to indigeneity and religion.
I completed a PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2007, which investigated the significance of protocols in the sharing of Native American ceremonies and included fieldwork among Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland, Canada.
I joined the TRS department at Leeds Trinity University in 2008 and the TRS department at the University of Chester in 2013, now splitting my time between the two. I am also currently the Coordinating Editor of DISKUS, the Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions.
While I was working on my PhD, I began to research contemporary Druidry, first in Scotland and Northern Ireland and later in England when I moved to Yorkshire, with a particular focus on indigeneity discourses and ceremonial practices. With Teemu Taira of Turku, Finland, I also examined the category religion in the case of the Druid Network registration as a religious charity in England and Wales. This has led me to research other ways ‘religion’ is recognised in law in the UK.
As Newfoundland continues to fascinate me as well, I returned in 2013 to research visual representations of the Beothuk, an indigenous group now culturally extinct due to the impact of colonisation. However, they continue to be remembered and made present through art, literature and museum exhibitions, often at the expense of the Mi’kmaq and other First Nations.