Latest News

A Black & White profile image of Adam Shapiro
29th September 2023

S3 Episode 9: Emerging Trends in the History of Science and Religion with Dr Adam Shapiro

In the final episode of the season, James and Will are joined by Dr Adam R. Shapiro, an historian of science, whose work focuses on public understandings and misunderstandings of science and the relationship between science and religion. Adam provides an overview of some of the emerging trends in the history of science and religion and situates his own work within this wider disciplinary movement. The discussion ranges from…

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A black and white profile image of Dr Carissa Sharp and Dr Carole Leicht
3rd August 2023

S3 Episode 8: Psychology of (non)Religion with Dr Carissa Sharp and Dr Carola Leicht

In the penultimate episode of the season, Will and Rebecca are joined by Dr Carissa Sharp, Assistant Professor in Psychology of Religion in the School of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, UK and Dr Carola Leicht, Reader in Organisational Behaviour at the University of Kent, UK. Carissa and Carola discuss their almost decade-long collaboration, using social psychological methods to explore questions of science-religion conflict and how…

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a black and white portrait photograph of Mareike Smolka
5th July 2022

S2 Episode 9: Measuring Meditation – the Study of Contemplative Science with Mareike Smolka

Religious practices and their effects are increasingly the subject of scientific investigation. In the field of Contemplative Science, mediative practices drawn from Buddhist traditions are united with techniques of analysis from cognitive and neurosciences. In this episode, James and Will welcome Mareike Smolka, a PhD Researcher at Maastricht University in Science and Technology Studies and Fullbright Scholar at Arizona State University, who has ethnographically explored this community. Mareike’s…

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14th June 2022

S2 Episode 8: Science and Colonial Legacies in East Africa with Professor Adam Chepkwony

In this episode, Richard and Will talk with Professor Adam Chepkwony, a Full Professor of Religion at the University of Kabianga in Kenya. Professor Chepkwony’s work covers a wide range of topics including African Religion, Inter-religious Dialogue, Science and Religion, and more. In this episode, Professor Chepkwony provides his perspective on how issues like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected, and are perceived by, people in Kenya.

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1st June 2022

S2 Episode 7: Science and Islam in the 19th Century with Dr Sarah Qidwai

In this episode, Rachael and Richard talk with Dr Sarah Qidwai, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Sarah’s work explores transnational and local perspectives on scientific disciplines during the long nineteenth century. In this episode, we discuss the focus of Sarah’s doctoral thesis, the Muslim polymath Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), and her latest project entitled ‘Scientism and Empire’ while examining how disciplines such as…

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a black and white photograph of Dr Bastiaan Rutjens
11th May 2022

S2 Episode 6: Science Scepticism around the World with Dr Bastiaan Rutjens

Understanding public attitudes towards science has become an increasingly important area of research in recent decades, and the importance of this kind of work has only been heightened by the emergence of COVID-19, and the diverse and unpredictable public responses to scientific and medical advice during the pandemic. In this episode Will and Richard talk to Dr Bastiaan Rutjens, who investigates public attitudes to science around the world, with…

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22nd March 2022

Science and Religion, A Very Short Re-Introduction

By Adam R. Shapiro When Thomas Dixon first asked me to work with him to revise and update his excellent 2008 book Science and Religion, A Very Short Introduction, my first thought was to ask why such a text might need a new edition. On the face of it, many of the issues we typically associate with the study of “science and religion” seem timeless, or…

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1st February 2022

S2 Episode 4: Cultural Psychology of the Mind with Dr Vivian Dzokoto

In this episode, hosts Richard Grove and James Riley meet with Dr. Vivian Dzokoto, a Cultural Psychologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States, to discuss her work on the cultural differences in how people think about “the mind.” Dr. Dzokoto has published research on a wide range of topics. However, one of the key characteristics of her research is the examination of culture and religion. Much of her…

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14th December 2021

S2 Episode 3: Varieties of Atheism in Science with Professor Elaine Howard Ecklund and Dr David R. Johnson

In this episode, hosts Rachael Shillitoe and Richard Grove, meet with Elaine Howard Ecklund, Professor of Sociology at Rice University and David R. Johnson, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University, to discuss their new book, Varieties of Atheism in Science, out now with Oxford University Press. Elaine and David reflect on the findings of their study which drew on surveys and interviews with atheist scientists in the UK and…

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6th December 2021

Call for Papers: The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, 3rd Annual Conference

University of Birmingham and Online (hybrid conference) 13-15 July 2022 Bursaries and honoraria to support participation, whether in-person or online are available, see below for more. The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society has been at the centre of the recent significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion, and belief in society. Following our successful online conference…

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A black and white photograph of Dr Anna Halafoff
23rd November 2021

S2 Episode 2: Science, (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 with Dr Anna Halafoff

New-age spirituality, wellness and alternative health practices have been cast in a new light as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded. The relationship between these practices and established or mainstream science and public health has tended to be an uneasy one, and this unease has only increased during the pandemic, with online spiritualist and wellness communities providing fertile ground for the growth and spread of increasingly anti-establishment and conspiratorial ideas.

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a sepia image of five adults at seance table with ectoplasm streaming below a table
27th October 2021

S2 Episode 1 – Fingerprinting Ghosts: Science, Technology & the Occult with The Media of Mediumship Project Team

The Media of Mediumship project is running jointly at the University of Stirling and the Science Museum Group. The project team comprises Principal Investigator Professor Christine Ferguson, Co-Investigator Dr Efram Sera-Shriar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Emma Merkling. In this very spooky episode, Christine, Efram and Emma tell us how from the late-Victorian era, novel technologies of the…

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5th October 2021

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts Conference: reflections from Africa

From 7-9 July 2021 we held our annual INSBS conference, STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism. Postponed in 2020 and held online in 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in this post three of our members from Africa reflect on their online conference experience. Belief and Science is not always a Toxic Combination By Ganiyat…

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24th May 2021

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 This conference took place from 7-9 July 2021 online. The final programme can be found at the following Download link: INSBS-Conference-2021-Final-ProgrammeDownload Included in the Programme are the following two plenary events. These are public lectures. Intersectional Approaches to Diversity in STEMM: Belief, Culture, and Inclusion The lack of diversity…

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23rd April 2021

Registration: STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy & Pluralism

Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 Conference format Due to constraints imposed by COVID 19, this conference will be entirely online. Sessions will be held throughout the day in order to enable people from different time zones to participate. Participants will be given the option of pre-recording their presentations, with recordings being submitted in advance of the conference dates.  If you have any questions or concerns about access or the conference…

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15th February 2021

How to Build an Academic Network

By Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci  On 5th February, the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society launched a call for grants to support the development of regional academic networks. In this blog, drawing on the insights of scholars from across the field, Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci look at what makes a good academic network and what anyone thinking of establishing…

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15th February 2021

Call for Papers: STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy & Pluralism

Update 16 March: Call for Papers is now closed. Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 In the last decade, there has been significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion and belief in society. Greater attention is being paid to the varied ways in which perceptions of different aspects of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics) have been, or are, influenced by religious and non-religious…

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4th February 2021

Announcing our first International Research Network grant awards

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash We are pleased to announce the first awards made via our Seed Funding and Small Research Grants scheme. We have been able to award funding to fifteen projects in this first round of funding. Projects will focus on conducting socially relevant research across a variety of aspects in the field of religion and science in society, in a broad range of countries.

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18th January 2021

Emergent Themes in the Study of Science & Belief in Society

PhD Workshop Online 12 – 16 April 2021 The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society (INSBS) will be running an international PhD workshop online from 12-16 April 2021. The workshop is open to anyone currently enrolled on a PhD programme and conducting research on any social or cultural aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths or Medicine (STEMM) in relation to any religious, spiritual or non-religious…

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12th January 2021

Episode 4: Science and Religion amongst Indian Scientists with Dr Renny Thomas

Renny Thomas is Assistant Professor  (Sociology and Social Anthropology), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, India.  Before joining IISER, he taught at the Department of Sociology, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, New Delhi (2015-2021). Renny received his PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and was the 2017-2018 Charles Wallace Fellowship in Social Anthropology at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK. You…

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