Current PhD Students
Rohan Gideon is the current holder of the Lincoln International Doctoral Studentship and is in his second year of doctoral reseach. His dissertation, The Agency of Children: Towards a Child Theology for India, is supervised by Professor Peter Scott. In his research, Rohan discusses how current forms of Christian child theologies present children largely as ‘passive’ participants, whose own voices and views are treated as less significant than adult views. He attempts to see how some of the discussions on ‘agency’ in child theologies in general and liberation theologies in India deter or advance the agential significance of children, and proposes ways of constructing a child theology for India. Rohan is an ordained Deacon of the Church of South India (CSI), and has an MTh in Christian Theology from Serampore University (India). He taught Christian Theology at Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai (India). He has authored a book, Child Labour in India: Its Challenges for Theological Thought and Christian Ministry in India (Delhi/ Nagpur: ISPCK/ NCCI, 2011), and has contributed articles in journals and volumes in this area.
Scott Midson, having completed both undergraduate and postgraduate study in Religions and Theology at Manchester, is currently beginning doctoral research into the limits of the ‘human’ with regards to rapidly advancing technologies. He is working under the supervision of Professor Peter Scott, and is investigating the possibility of constructing a ‘cyborg theology’ which seeks to emphasise the concept of hybridity when considering how technologies are reshaping what we can essentially regard as human. While Scott works from a broadly theological perspective, the nature of his research means that it spans a number of disciplines; from sociology to computer science, and from anthropology to bioethics. Although research in the field of ‘posthumanities’ is developing from the humanities as much as from the sciences, what is unique about this work is that it seeks to address inconsistencies and a lack of consensus in the literature about the different outcomes of a human intermingling with technology. Are advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and various medicinal tools, techniques and prostheses, theologically speaking, something we should fear or embrace? Scott’s research is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and he is part of the first cohort of recipients of the President’s Doctoral Scholar award. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Charlie Pemberton completed his BA (hons) at Durham University before moving to Manchester where he won the Mark Gibbs and Henry Lucas awards from the Lincoln Theological Institute for doctoral research. Assuming a poststructuralist, interdisciplinary method, he is primarily interested in modern and postmodern political theologies, particularly when applied to recent social/sociological trends. His doctoral research is an examination of religiously informed public discourses in civil society, more specifically contemporary Christian charities that work with those suffering homelessness. Contending that charities are an inherently interdisciplinary subject he uses political theory to contextualise charities and the myriad ways they have historically structured the agency of both ‘donor’ and ‘recipient’, and draws on theologically informed anthropologies to ask, are Christian accounts of the person at variance or at ease with the human sustained and produced by charities? Finding the emancipatory credentials of Christian homelessness charities highly ambiguous, this text’s conclusions bear on both the current politics of the ‘Big Society’ and the political theologies of Radical Orthodoxy and Liberation Theology.
Richard Benda is a third year doctoral student in the Centre for Religion and Political Culture at the University of Manchester studying under Dr. Michael Hoelzl. The working title of his thesis is "Weighed and Tested: Christian and Muslim Communities and the Rwandan Genocide." His research will address key questions in relation to religious authority and the role of faith in response to the complexity of African identity-based conflicts, of which the Rwandan genocide is an extreme case. This research is designed to be an invaluable academic contribution to the process of peace building and reconciliation for the people of Rwanda. In the context of the increasing visibility of religion in the public arena and in international politics especially, the project will assess the political potential of Christianity and Islam in Rwanda both as agents of conflict and actors in peacemaking. Before arriving in Manchester Richard was half-way through his first year of law school when the Rwandan Genocide happened and life as he knew it ceased to exist. It took him three years to realize that despite personal abyssal loss, national moral collapse and a future without dreams, life had to go on for those who survived! So he returned to law school and graduated with a Masters degree. He then went on to study for a BA and MA in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester which have led him to his current doctoral work. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Theodros Assefa Teklu is a second year doctoral student in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester. Before coming to Manchester he completed two postgraduate programmes: MA in Biblical and Theological Studies (2003-2005) and PGDip in HIV and AIDS in Relation to Theological Studies (2006) at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST). Before that, he received a BSc in Biology (1991) from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He served as a Registrar and HIV Course Leader (August 2007-January 2009) at EGST. Prior to that, he had experience as a school-teacher, church minister (in different capacities mainly teaching and administration/leadership) and also as a Documentation Officer for a Faith-based Organisation (FBO) working on Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme. The topic of his PhD research is "Towards a Theology of Ethnic Justice: The Case of Ethiopia." He can be contacted at email@example.com
Kyle Gingerich-Hiebert is currently a third year PhD student working in the Centre for Religion and Political Culture at the University of Manchester. Broadly conceived, his doctoral work is an inquiry into the extent to which contemporary debates in political theology end up compromising the harmonious blending of differences rightly sought by employing a rhetorical violence that reduces non-Christian others to the wastebasket of nihilism. He holds an MA (by Research) in Philosophical Theology (Distinction) from the University of Nottingham, an HBA in Philosophy (High Distinction) from the University of Toronto and a BTh in Theology and Ethics from Canadian Mennonite Bible College. His research is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the University of Manchester. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed PhD Students
Clare Greer has successfully submitted her thesis, under the supervision of Professor Graham Ward in the Centre for Religion and Political Culture at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral work explored the significance of the Hegelian philosophy of Gillian Rose (1947-1995) for contemporary orthodox political theology, particularly her interaction with John Milbank. She holds an MA in Religion, Culture and Society (Distinction) and BA in Religions and Theology (First Class) both from the University of Manchester. Her research was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Joseph Duggan successfully defended his doctoral thesis, written under the supervision of Dr. Peter Scott in the Lincoln Theological Institute at the University of Manchester. His dissertation was entitled "Whole and Parts in Ecclesiology: A Critical, Postcolonial Theological Analysis." This research has proved crucial for his other research endeavors in postcolonial theory and theology; especially, he is founding editor of Postcolonial Networks (for his bio, click here). His recent publications include "The Postcolonial Paradox: Becoming Less than Whole(s) Producing Parts that Exclude Other Parts," Journal of Anglican Studies, vol. 7.01, May 2009, pp 67-77.
Ruth Hadley successfully defended her PhD thesis in autumn 2012. Ruth's undergraduate degree was conducted in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. Since then, she has returned to her native city of Manchester to pursue her particular interest in the contemporary interrelation between religion and politics at the Centre for Religion and Political Culture for both her MA and PhD degrees. She studied under Dr. Michael Hoelzl, and her research focused on the concept of tolerance under the working title, "The Intolerance of Tolerance." It challenged the validity of the contemporary promotion of tolerance as the long term solution to the "dilemma of difference;" the question of how people with different and even opposing value-belief systems might peacefully co-exist. The research undertook a genealogical survey of tolerance from its Latin origins in the term "tolerare" to "tolerance" as promoted in the 1995, UNESCO-sponsored "Year of Tolerance." It also examined the contemporary academic arguments for and against a public political policy of tolerance. The aim was to situate tolerance firmly within the historical process; expressive of particular historical values and particular historical interests. The question ultimately addressed was whether alternative solutions to the ‘dilemma of difference’ ought perhaps to be upheld and what, if necessary, abandoning the current policy of tolerance might entail.
Samson Heilegiorgis, the first holder of the Lincoln International Doctoral Studentship, has successfully completed his doctoral thesisis under the supervision of Dr. Peter Scott at the Lincoln Theological Institute at the University of Manchester. His research topic was "Unity amongst the Evangelical Churches of Ethiopia: A Theological and Empirical Study." The Ethiopian evangelical churches, although less than seventy years old, are growing at an average rate of 15% per year, and at present have nearly 11 million members, organised in nearly fifty denominations. The mushrooming of new churches is considered by some as part of church growth and by others as dividing the Body of Christ. The research involved data collection from individual churches in Ethiopia, using questionnaires, interview, focus group discussion, and analysing statements of faith, basic doctrines and organisational structures. A medical doctor by background, Samson is also active in leadership in the Mennonite Church of Ethiopia, and has an MTh from the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology and an MSc in Population Health Economics from Manchester University.
Anchu Tee successfully completed her doctoral studies in 2012, and was supervised by Dr. Michael Hoelzl. Before arriving in Manchester, she studied for an undergraduate degree in Chinese literature, which she followed up with a Master’s degree in Western Philosophy. Her current thesis is based on the development of Christianity, and the Christian movement, in China. This particular topic has arisen from a number of factors, but the predominant pair relate to her own personal life. First, her grandparents were born and raised in China, so the country has a personal resonance in her life, and work. Secondly, she have been a Christian for a number of years, and the rise of a significant world religion in a rising global force is significant for her. More specifically, her work focuses upon Bishop K. H. Ting, as he has proven to be the most significant Christian in what some term "new China." She also has interests within the interplay of Marxism and religion, as her Master’s thesis was based on the philosophy of Marx. As China becomes more overtly involved with the global economy, the development of religion and religious movements within China is of global interest. Furthermore, the development of Chinese religion within a pseudo-Marxist framework will be of significant impact to global philosophy and theology in particular.
Qi Zheng is a doctoral student in her writing up year in the School of Law. She is supervised by Dr. Michael Hoelzl, and her research topic is "Carl Schmitt and Chinese Constitutionalism." In her dissertation, she explores two basic but important questions: 1) Why has Carl Schmitt's political theory gained so much attention among Chinese scholars since the beginning of the twentieth century? 2) What is the link between Carl Schmitt's political theory and the modernization of Chinese constitutionalism? She can be contacted at: email@example.com