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About Prof Elaine Graham

I began my career as a regional organizer for the Student Christian Movement, which is where I developed my enthusiasm for theological education. I spent four years as an ecumenical lay chaplain at Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University), alongside part-time postgraduate study. In 1988 I moved to the University of Manchester, latterly (from 1997) as Samuel Ferguson Professor of Social & Pastoral Theology. I’ve worked at the University of Chester since 2009.

My postgraduate research focused initially on what twentieth-century pastoral care literature said about the pastoral needs of women – not much, given that most of the discussion focused on the role of male clergy. This led me to doctoral work on the significance of theories of gender identity for theological studies. From that, I became interested in aspects of theological understandings of embodiment, particularly how advanced technologies might be reshaping our experiences and leading us towards a ‘posthuman’ existence. 

My long-standing interest in the field of Practical Theology has continued to feed into my teaching and research. I continue to think, teach and write about the relationship between religious beliefs and values and their practical outworking in areas such as ethics, social policy and church life. More recently, I’ve become an advocate for ordinary people of faith to feel confident about the difference their commitment makes to all aspects of their lives, and how they might be empowered to be more articulate and ‘theologically literate’.

Currently, I am taking my interest in the way religious belief and practice is shaped by the changing culture around it to examine the way Christianity has responded to modernity, beginning with the crisis of faith at the end of the nineteenth century. The “Sea of Faith project” focuses in particular on the life and work of the Cambridge-based theologian and philosopher Don Cupitt (1934-). At the heart of Cupitt’s work is the theological and philosophical concept of non-realism, associated with the idea that belief in a personal, transcendent, metaphysical being is not essential to Christianity. Drawing on extensive materials largely donated by Cupitt and now housed at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, North Wales, this project aims to locate Cupitt’s work in historical context, advance new interpretations of his thinking and evaluate the prospects for new forms of radical theologies in the twenty-first century.

My appointment in 2014 as Canon Theologian at Chester Cathedral is also an important expression of the Department’s links to the wider community. Through Chester Theological Society and my annual Cathedral lecture I can help to encourage members of the public beyond the academy to engage with cutting-edge scholarship and to debate questions of faith, doubt, belief and practice.

Teaching

Postgraduate

  • Theology, Media and Communication
  • Media Ethics
  • Writing for Publication
  • Practice-Based Research Project
  • Introduction to Advanced Research in Practical Theology
  • Reflective Practice
  • Dissertation

Research

Research Interests

  • Practical Theology
  • Feminist Practical Theology
  • Lay ministry in the Christian Church
  • Religion and Public Life
  • Modern Radical and Non-Realist Theologies

PhD and DProf Supervision

  • Practical Theology
  • Religion and Public Life
  • Christian Apologetics
  • Theology and Technology
  • Religion and Media

Elsewhere on the Web:

Published Work

Books

  • with Heather Walton and Frances Ward, Theological Reflection: Methods. London: SCM Press, 2nd Revised and Expanded Edition, 2019
  • with Bennett, Z., Pattison, S., and Walton, H. Invitation to Research in Practical Theology. London: Routledge. 2018.
  • Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a world troubled by religion. Cascade, 2017.
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in a Post-Secular Age. London: SCM Press, 2013.
  • with Stephen Lowe, What Makes a Good City? Public Theology and the Urban Church. London: DLT, 2009.
  • Representations of the Post/Human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture. Manchester University Press, 2002.
  • Transforming Practice: Pastoral Theology in an Age of Uncertainty. London: Mowbray, 1996, 2nd edition Wipf & Stock, 2002.
  • Making the Difference: Gender, Personhood and Theology. London: Mowbray, 1995.

 

Edited books

  • with P.M. Scott and C.R. Baker, Remoralizing Britain? Political, Ethical and Theological perspectives on New Labour. London and New York: Continuum, xx + 255pp. 978-0-826-42465-1, 2009.
  • (ed.) Grace Jantzen: Redeeming the Present. London: Ashgate, 240pp. 978-075466824-X, 2009.
  • Words Made Flesh: Writings in Practical and Pastoral Theology. London: SCM Press, 2009.
  • with Heather Walton and Frances Ward, Theological Reflection: Sources. London: SCM Press, 2007.
  • with Margaret Halsey, Life-Cycles: Women and Pastoral Care. London: SPCK, 1993.

 

Chapters in edited collections

  • Public Theology as Apologetics. In Christoph Hübenthal and Christiane Alpers, eds. T&T Clark Handbook of Public Theology, 2021.
  • After the Fire, the voice of God: Speaking of God after Tragedy and Trauma. In M. Warner, C. Southgate, C. Grosch-Miller and H. Ison, eds. Tragedies and Christian Congregations: the Practical Theology of Trauma (13-27). London: Routledge, 2019.
  • Interrogating the Postsecular. In J. Beaumont, ed. Routledge Handbook on Postsecularity (223-233). London: Routledge, 2019.
  • with D. Llewellyn, Promoting the Good: Ethical and Methodological Considerations in Practical Theological Research.  In M. Moschella and S. Willhauck, eds.  Qualitative Research in Theological Education: Pedagogy in Practice (39-59). SCM, 2018.
  • Feminist Critiques, Visions and Models of the Church. in Paul Avis, ed. Oxford Companion to Ecclesiology (527-551). Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • with Chris Baker, Urban Ecology and Faith Communities. In K. Day and S. Kim eds., Brill Companion to Public Theology (390-417). Leiden: Brill, 2017.
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Negotiating Religious Voices in Public Spaces. In D. Llewellyn and S. Sharma (eds.), Religion, Equalities and Inequalities (3-14). London: Routledge, 2016.
  • Manifestations of the Posthuman in the Postsecular Imagination. in J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (eds.) Perfecting Human Futures: Technology, Secular­iza­tion, and Eschatology (51-72). Berlin: Springer, 2015.
  • The Final Frontier? Religion and Posthumanism in Film and TV. In M. Hauskeller, T.D. Philbeck and C. Carbonell, eds. Palgrave Macmillan Handbook of Posthumanism in Film and TV (361-370), London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (reprinted in Burgoyne, D. and Gooding, R., eds. Research now: Contemporary writing in the disciplines. Calgary: Broadview Press, 2018).
  • 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.
  • Theology, Place and Human Flourishing. in M. Higton, ed. Theology and Human Flourishing: Essays in Honour of Timothy Gorringe, Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2011.
  • Religious Literacy and Public Service Broadcasting: Introducing a Research Agenda. in eds. G. Lynch and J. Mitchell, Religion, Media and Culture: a Reader (228-235), London: Routledge, 2011.
  •  Feminist Theory. in ed. B.M. Miller-McLemore, Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (204-213), Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 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.
  • 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: Ashgate, 2011.
  • Doing God? Public Theology under Blair’ in Remoralizing Britain? eds. Peter M. Scott, Chris R. Baker and Elaine L. Graham, Continuum, 2009, 1-18.
  • Embodying technology, becoming our tools: discussing the post/human’, in ed. J. Baxter, Words that Heal (125-148), London: SPCK, 2007.
  • What we make of the world: the turn to culture in theology and the study of religion’ in ed. Gordon Lynch, Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture, 63-81London: I.B. Tauris, October 2007.
  • “Our Real Witness’: Windsor, Public Opinion and Sexuality, in eds. A. Linzey and R. Kirker, Gays and the Future of Anglicanism (199-212), London: John Hunt Publishing, 2005.
  • Citizens in Cyberspace: New Jerusalem or Big Brother?’ in ed. Johnston Mackay, Netting Citizens (144-171), Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 2004.
  • Public Theology in an age of “Voter Apathy”, in eds. W. Storrar and A. Morton Public Theology in the 21st Century (385-403), Edinburgh and New York: T&T Clark International, 2004.
  • Different Forms of Feminist Ethics in eds. Carl-Henric Grenholm and Normunds Kamergrauzis, Feminist Ethics: Perspectives, Problems and Possibilities (Uppsala Studies in Social Ethics 29), (15-30), Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Uppsaliensis, 2003.
  • Feminist Theology in Blackwell Companion to Political Theology, eds. William Cavanaugh and Peter M. Scott, (Oxford & New York: Blackwell), 2003, 210-26.
  • Liberal Theology and Transformative Pedagogy, in ed. M. Chapman, The Future of Liberal Theology (129-38), Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.
  • Cyborgs or Goddesses? Becoming Divine in a Cyberfeminist Age in eds. E. Green and A. Adam, Virtual Gender: Technology, Consumption and Identity (302-322), London and New York, Routledge, 2001.
  • Pastoral Theology as Transforming Practice in eds S. Pattison and J.W. Woodward, The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral Theology (100-114), Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.
  • “The Story” or “our stories”? Narrative Theology, Vernacular Religion and the Birth of Jesus, in ed. G. Brooke, The Birth of Jesus: Biblical and Theological Reflections, (89-98), Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000.
  • Woorden tot vlees gemaakt: belichaming en praktische theologie, in eds M. de Haardt, E. Maeckelberghe en M. van Dijk, Geroepen om te Spreken: Over verbeelding en creativiteit in theologie en pastoraat (100-114), Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1998.
  • A View from a Room, in eds D. Ackermann and R. Bons-Storm, Liberating Faith Practices: Feminist Practical Theologies in Context, (129-152), Leuven: Peeters, 1998.
  • Feminist Theology: ‘Myth’, ‘Mystery’ or ‘Monster’? in ed. Liz Stanley, Thinking feminisms, (109-119), London and California: Sage, 1997.
  • The Sexual Politics of Pastoral Care, in eds E.L. Graham and M. Halsey, Life-Cycles: Women and Pastoral Care, (210-224), London: SPCK, 1993.

 

Journal articles

  • The Spiritual Cyborg: Religion and Posthumanism from Secular to Postsecular. Concilium 2021:3.
  • The Human Face of God: Notes on a Journey through Practical Theology. Practical Theology 13.1-2 (2020): 32-45.
  • How to Speak of God? Toward a Postsecular Apologetics. Practical Theology 11. 3 (2018): 206-217.
  • Luther’s Legacy: Rethinking the Theology of Lay Discipleship. Ecclesiology 13.3 (2017): 324-348.
  • On Becoming a Practical Theologian: Past, present and future tense. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies (Special Edition: Yolanda Dreyer Festscrift); Vol 73, No 4 (2017): 9 pp, Pretoria.  http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/view/4634.
  • Reflexivity and Rapprochement: Explorations of a “Postsecular” Public Theology. International Journal of Public Theology 11 (2017): 315-327.
  • The Unquiet Frontier: Tracing the Boundaries of Philosophy and Public Theology. Political Theology 16.1 (2015): 33-46.
  • Is Practical Theology a form of ‘Action Research’? International Journal of Practical Theology 17.1 (2013) 1-31.
  • From Where Does the Red Tory Speak? Phillip Blond, Theology and Public Discourse’, Political Theology 13.3 (2012): 292-307.
  • ‘The Archbishop Speaks, But Who Is Listening? The Dilemmas of Public Theology Today’, Ecclesiology 8 (2012): 200–222.
  • ‘What’s Missing? Gender, Reason and the Post-Secular’, Political Theology 13.2 (2012): 233-245.
  • A Remembrance of Things (Best) Forgotten: the ‘allegorical past’ and the feminist imagination’, Feminist Theology, 21.1 (2012): 58-70.
  • A Window on the Soul: Four Politicians on Politics and Religion’ International Journal of Public Theology 3.2 (2009): 141-160.
  • Being, making and imagining: toward a practical theology of technology’, Culture and Religion 10.2 (2009): 221-236.
  • Health, Wealth or Wisdom? Religion and the Paradox of Prosperity’, International Journal of Public Theology 3.1 (2009): 5-23.
  • What Makes a Good City? Reflections on Urban Life and Faith’ International Journal of Public Theology 2 (1), (2008): 7-26.
  • Power, Knowledge and Authority in Public Theology’, International Journal of Public Theology, 1 (1), May 2007: 42-62.
  • In Whose Image? Representations of technology and the ‘ends’ of humanity, Ecotheology, 11.2, (2006): 159-82.
  • Bioethics after Posthumanism: Natural Law, Communicative Ethics and the Problem of Self-Design, Ecotheology, 9.2 (2004): 66-86.
  • Post/Human Conditions, Theology and Sexuality (special edition on Representations of the Post/Human), 10:2 (2004): 9-30.
  • Frankensteins and Cyborgs: Visions of the Global Future in an Age of Technology’, Studies in Christian Ethics, 16:1 (2003): 29-43.
  • “Nietzsche Gets a Modem”: Transhumanism and the technological sublime’, Literature and Theology, 16:1 (2002): 65-80.
  • (with James N. Poling), ‘Some Expressive forms of a Liberation Practical Theology: art forms as resistance to evil’, International Journal of Practical Theology, 4 (2000): 163-83.
  • "Only Bodies Suffer": Embodiment, Representation and the Practice of Ethics’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Research Institute, 80:3 (1999): 255-273.
  • From "Terrible Silence" to "Transforming Hope": The Impact of Feminist Theory on Practical Theology', International Journal of Practical Theology Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, Vol. 2 (1999): 185-212.
  • Pastoral Theology: “Therapy”, “Mission” or “Liberation”?’ Scottish Journal of Theology, 52:4 (1999).
  • Pastoral Care and Communitarianism', Contact: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Pastoral Studies. 125 (1998): 2-9.
  • Fundamentalism, Postmodernism and Spirituality’, The Way: Review of Contemporary Christian Spirituality 16:3 (1996): 203-14.
  • Theology in the City: Ten Years after Faith in the City’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Research Institute 78:1(1996): 179-97.
  • Gender, Personhood and Theology, Scottish Journal of Theology 48:3, 1995: 341-58.
  • From "Space" to "Woman-Space", Feminist Theology No. 9 (1995): 11-34.
  • Toward a Theology of Desire, Theology and Sexuality No. 1 (1994): 13-30.
  • Feminism, Pastoral Theology and the Future, Contact: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Pastoral Studies 103 (1990): 2-9.
  • The Pastoral Needs of Women, Contact: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Pastoral Studies 100 (1989): 23-5.
  • The Pastoral Significance of Community Work, Modern Churchman New Series, XXX, No. 2 (1988):15-23.

 

Qualifications

BSc (Soc Sci) Economic & Social History and Sociology (Bristol), MA (Theol) (Manchester), PhD Manchester, FRSA, FHEA.