Public Engagement Activities
‘Cafe Philosophique’, Greenbelt Arts and Justice Festival, 27 Aug 2012.
‘Giving up God for Lent: A New Kind of Christian is A New Kind of Atheist’, Greenbelt Christian Arts and Justice Festival, 25 Aug 2012.
‘Atheism for Lent,’ Church course, Journey MCC, Birmingham, Lent 2011.
‘On Quite Rightly Passing for Atheists,’ Church discussion group presentation, Lichfield, West Midlands, Mar 12 2009.
‘A/Theism and the Future of the Church’, Church discussion group presentation, Lichfield, West Midlands, Feb 11 2009.
‘The Faith of the Faith/less?’ Political Theology blog. Online book symposium on Simon Critchley’s The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology (Feb 06 2012)
‘Becoming Church Mice: From Refeusing to Lead to Refusing to be Led’, The Other Journal. Online book symposium on Peter Rollins’ Insurrection: To Believe is Human; To Doubt, Divine (Oct 24 2011)
Administrator of John D. Caputo’s Facebook page.
Research Impact Network, Philosophy and Religious Practices
I am a Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, working on the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded network, Philosophy and Religious Practices, based on collaborative research links between the Departments of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool and of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University, the Centre for Faiths and Public Policy at the University of Chester, and faith communities in the North West of England. Dan Whistler is the Principal Investigator, with Chris Baker as Co-Investigator. Here’s some blurb about the network:
Context and Rationale
Philosophers of religion (in both the continental and analytic traditions) have long been accused of distancing themselves from concrete religious practices. As one critic puts it, much philosophy of religion displays a blatant ‘disregard of reality’ (Brian Clack, ‘Religious Belief and the Disregard of Reality’, 2011). A key aim of the ‘Philosophy and Religious Practices’ network is thus to reconnect philosophy with research on religion, investigating how philosophers and religious communities can communicate fruitfully to produce the kind of change outlined by Alison Scott-Baumann, wherein ‘Scepticism about philosophy [among faith communities] is replaced by a dialectical process of using philosophy to help people live together and look forward, alert to new possibilities’ (‘Teacher Education for Muslim Women’, 2003).
The network facilitates collaboration between philosophers and researchers on religion (Islam, Buddhism and Christianity) in order to measure the relationships between theory and practice, and between the academy and local faith communities in order to orient research concerns and provide space for religious communities to reflect rigorously on religious practice. Its remit is to open up ways in which each group can benefit from the others. At stake is the influence faith communities can have on religious research and the impact religious research can have on faith communities, as well as the academy’s ability to measure this impact.
The network limits its scope to academic institutions and faith communities in the North-West of England. The Department of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool has a tradition of engagement with local communities – its Philosophy in the City scheme, in particular. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester is home to the Centre for Faiths and Public Policy and the William Temple Foundation, which both attempt to map the relation between religion and public life (especially in terms of social, political and economic well-being). Finally, the Department of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University sums up in its very name the intention of this project to facilitate dialogue between philosophers of religion, practical theologians and researchers in religious studies and is an internationally recognized centre for continental philosophy of religion.
Aims and Objectives
The network’s aims and objectives are:
1) To facilitate collaboration among three groups with a vested interest in religion: philosophers of religion, researchers on religion, and religious practitioners;
2) To incorporate the work of philosophers of religion into contemporary research on religion; and
3) To forge closer relations between theory and practice in religious research, especially in philosophy of religion, in three ways:
i) to model and implement strategies for maximizing the impact of theory on religious communities;
ii) to develop means of measuring this impact; and
iii) to foreground the reflection of religious practitioners (especially the diversity of such reflection) in the construction of research on religion.
The ways in which research on religion is able to impact on religious communities informs the very structure of this network. Hence, the theoretical workshops occur at the front-end of the project, to be followed by a series of impact events oriented around the concerns of religious practitioners themselves. These latter events are deliberately designed to form a practical case-study of the models of measurement developed in the workshops. Both theoretical and impact elements will then be brought together in a concluding, summative international conference.
The theoretical workshops take place between December 2012 and September 2013. Setting the agenda for the network, the initial event, ‘Measuring Impact on Religious Communities’ (University of Liverpool), is a day-long event investigating the ways in which the impact of research on religion in the Humanities can be measured meaningfully. The following two workshops – ‘Buddhism and Human Flourishing’ (University of Chester) and ‘Peace and Religious Reconciliation’ (Liverpool Hope University) – take the themes of well-being and violence as concrete examples with which to explore how philosophy and religious studies can mutually inform each other and to develop the role of both in aiding religious practitioners.
Run by the network’s research associate and impact co-ordinator, the impact events ‘Theory in Churches, Mosques and Temples’ will be held between September 2013 and March 2014. Moody has experience of creating and running the ‘Atheism for Lent’ programme, which brings philosophical theory into churches for the purpose of facilitating critical thinking. These 10 impact events will take this programme as its template but extend it for use in non-Christian settings. At stake will be the implementation of the models for measuring impact theorized in the workshops.
Finally, the ground covered by the network will be reviewed in a final international conference, ‘Philosophy, Religion and Public Policy’ in April 2014, at which all the groups who participated in the project will be represented (philosophers of religion, researchers on religion and practitioners of religion). Particular emphasis will be placed on applying new paradigms for the theory/practice relation to public debates around religion, and there will be a specially convened panel focused on the impact events.
Network outcomes include:
1) An edited volume, Philosophy and Religious Practices, in Ashgate’s Intensities: Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion series (series editors Steven Shakespeare and Patrice Haynes, Liverpool Hope University), combining select academic papers stemming from network events and reflections by religious practitioners involved in the project; and
2) A website cataloguing resources for researchers and practitioners working at the intersection of theory and practice in the study of religion, including event reports and a blog.