Podcasts

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 Baastian 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 Baastian Rutjens, who investigates public attitudes to science around the world, with…

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15th March 2022

S2 Episode 5: Evolution and Creation in New Zealand with Dr John Stenhouse

In this episode James Riley and Richard Grove talk with John Stenhouse, Associate Professor of History at the University of Otago, New Zealand.  John’s research interests centre on the interconnections between science, religion, race, politics and gender in the modern world, particularly using New Zealand as the major site of study. We talk about the history of creationist and evolutionary ideas in New Zealand, and how…

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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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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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3rd June 2021

Episode 9: Science and Religion in Mass Media with Dr Tom Aechtner

In the final episode of Season 1 of the Science & Belief in Society Podcast, we’re re-joined by Dr Tom Aechtner, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Science in the School Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. Tom talks us through the persuasive and rhetorical tactics used by both pro- and anti-evolutionist media and explains what science communicators can learn from their anti-evolutionary counterparts. Alongside his work on…

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4th May 2021

Episode 8: Science and Non-Religion with Dr Lois Lee

Dr Lois Lee is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent, and is the Principal Investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme. You can read her Researcher Profile here. In this episode, we talk with Lois about the relationship between science and non-religion and the perceived affinity between the two. Through her ground-breaking research on non-religion and unbelief, Lois discusses…

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12th April 2021

Episode 7: Historical Research on Science and Religion – The Conflict Thesis Revisited with Dr James Ungureanu

Dr James Ungureanu is Historian in Residence at the George L. Mosse Program in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can read his Researcher Profile here. In this episode James and Will welcome Dr James Ungureanu, Historian in Residence in the George L. Mosse Program in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in…

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9th March 2021

Episode 6: Science and Religion in African Contexts with Dr Bankole Falade

Dr Bankole Falade is a Research Fellow with the South African Research Chair in Science Communication, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University. A social psychologist, Dr Falade’s work focuses on the interactions between science and religion; perceptions of health and disease in Africa; and public trust, interest, engagement with and attitudes to science. You can read Bankole’s researcher profile here. In this…

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9th February 2021

Episode 5: The Humanist Blockbuster and the Evolutionary Epic with Dr Alexander Hall

In this episode, we welcome Dr Alexander Hall, who discusses his research into the popular media representation of science and religion in the 20th century. Dr Hall is a historian of science and environmental historian. He is a member of the Science and Belief in Society management team, and you can read his Researcher Profile here. Alex introduces us to ways of presenting science which…

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26th January 2021

Podcast Special: Pew Research Center

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash The Pew Research Center is a fact tank which focuses on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. For example, they study U.S. politics and policy; journalism and media; internet, science and technology; religion and public life; global attitudes and trends and U.S. social and demographic trends. To carry out such research, the team at Pew Research conduct public opinion polling, demographic…

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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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1st December 2020

Episode 3: Science, Religion and Stereotypes with Dr Kimberly Rios

Dr Kim Rios is Associate Professor of Psychology at Ohio University where she has taught since 2013. whose research explores the relationship between science, religion and identity from a Social Psychological perspective. She is interested in the causes and consequences of stereotyping/prejudice among religious majorities (such as, negative stereotypes about Christians’ scientific abilities) and minorities (for example, negative stereotypes about atheists’ morality and trustworthiness), both within the U.S. and cross-culturally.

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24th November 2020

Podcast Special: COVID, Conspiracies & Vaccines – Dr Tom Aechtner

Recently, we caught up with Dr Tom Aechtner, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Science at the University of Queensland, to record an episode for the Science & Belief in Society podcast series. That episode, on Tom’s work around persuasion tactics in science and religion mass media communication, will be launched in Summer 2021. Tom has also been researching vaccination scepticism and anti-vaccination movements and media. Given…

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3rd November 2020

Episode 2: Sociological Research on Science and Religion in the USA – Dr Shiri Noy

Dr Shiri Noy is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at Denison University, Ohio. Her research interests are in political culture, globalization, and development. You can read her Researcher Profile here. In this episode, we talk with Shiri about the value of quantitative and qualitative methods in understanding public attitudes to science and religion in the US; how theoretical insights from political and cultural sociology help to…

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20th October 2020

Episode 1: Introducing the Network – Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker

Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker is the Director for the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society and the Principal Investigator on the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum of Global Perspectives project. She is a Professor in Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society and is the Director of the Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society Research Group at the University of Birmingham.

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