All posts by Christopher Greenough

New Degree Launched at Edge Hill: BA (HONS) Religion

Edge Hill University has launched an exciting new undergraduate programme giving students the opportunity to study religion in contemporary society and culture, from traditional belief systems to non-religious spiritualities and the rise of digital religion.

The new BA (Hons) Religion single honours degree will welcome its first students in September 2020.

As well as gaining comprehensive knowledge of the major religious traditions across the globe, the contemporary focus of the degree will allow students to explore some of the most controversial and challenging issues in religion. They will also have the opportunity to study thought-provoking themes such as religion in the workplace, religion and the arts, religion and the body and religion in the public sphere.

The new programme is led by Dr Chris Greenough, a researcher in gender, sexuality and religion, and Maggie Webster, an expert in non-religious spiritualities, and is delivered by staff who are actively researching or working in the field of Religion. Dr Greenough said:

“There is a common misconception that you need to be religious to study religion! That isn’t true. A degree in Religion asks vital questions about the world and how we understand it. This degree at Edge Hill explores and examines the most important issues that shape contemporary society and culture.”

The degree draws on the cutting-edge research from the team, exploring how discussions about religion are often problematic or controversial. Students on the degree will develop skills to tackle complex and difficult issues surrounding religion and apply these skills to a number of settings.

Maggie Webster added:

“The need for graduates who have the knowledge and understanding of religion, society and culture is urgent in today’s world. Religion is important for a number of careers, including National Health Service, the civil service, journalism, youth and community settings, journalism, media, teaching, marketing, banking, charity work, law, religious ministries.”

The Religion single honours programme complements Edge Hill’s existing portfolio of courses in Religion, including Education and Religion, Secondary Religious Education with QTS and PGCE Religious Education.

To find out more about the programme, visit our religion course page.new-degree-explores-contemporary-religion

Fieldwork in Religion: Going Out and Finding Out

This last week has been very busy for our undergraduate students, who have benefitted from meeting and engaging with local faith communities.

Year 2 Ethnography students are currently engaged in their own fieldwork projects, exploring a range of topics including witchcraft, perspectives on the after life in a care home, life in a convent, challenges and controversies in contemporary religion, digital ethnography, as well as engaging with Paganism, Christianity, Sikhism and Islam. The principle of the module is to allow students to go out and find out more about how living religion is experienced as part of every day life.

Year 2 Judaism students and their module tutor, Dr Chris Greenough, visited Southport and District Reform Synagogue on Wednesday 7th November. They received a very warm welcome from the team there, especially Selwyn and Anne who gave an informative talk about the Jewish way of life and particularly the differences between the Orthodox and Reform movements. On Tuesday 13th November, the same group of students visited Southport Orthodox synagogue, where they were able to consolidate their subject knowledge about Jewish worship practices and the design of a synagogue.

Year 3 students, with Maggie Webster, were welcomed by Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Preston to mark the celebration of Diwali and new year.


Year 2 Visit to Manchester Synagogue and Schul

David Arnold explaining the tallit and tefillin, used during prayer service.

On 20th March, Year 2 students enjoyed a visit to the Manchester Synagogue and Schul, led by David Arnold. The visit was part of the fieldwork for the module on Judaism. David Arnold is an ambassador for the Jewish community, working with schools and universities. During the morning, David gave a talk on the Jewish ‘way of life’, explaining how being Jewish is more than religion. Lunch was enjoyed at a local kosher restaurant, and students visited the local Jewish bookstore. The afternoon session with David offered plenty of opportunity for questions before heading home to complete their assignments!

Year 1 Visit Gujarat Temple in Preston

After successfully completing a module on Hindu Dharma, on 12th March, Year 1 students received a warm welcome at the Gujarat Temple in Preston. Students were greeted by receiving a tilaka. This is part of the Hindu ritual of marking someone’s forehead with a fragrant paste, as a welcome and expression of honour when they arrive. During the guided tour of the temple, students were able to see the visual richness of the dharmic tradition by looking at the statues and images of the Hindu deities, as well as observe puja worship from individuals visiting the temple. Students also experienced a guided meditation, yoga style.