The Centre for the Study of World Christianity offers supervised research degrees at the Masters and PhD levels. For more information, please see the University website.
The Centre attracts a diverse body of students from many different countries and religious traditions. Our students come from Cameroon, China, Ghana, India, Iran, South Korea, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, the USA, and, of course, the UK.
|Kpanie Addy (Ghana) · My research examines the Catholic Church’s role in Ghanaian politics by focusing on the church’s attempts to contribute to Ghana’s transition from near-state collapse to socio-political and economic resurgence during the Rawlings era (1981-2001). My project, which uses archival documents and oral history, aims to uncover and explain the distinctive course pursued by the Catholic Church in Ghana, institutionally and through its affiliates, in response to Rawlings’s revolution and its agenda of realizing participatory democracy.
|Agana-Nsiire Agana (Ghana) · My research is a gender-sensitive, empirically grounded, theoretical investigation of Ghanaian Christian youth constructions of self online and how this relates to theological understandings of what it means to be human. It pursues a contextual and digitally informed conception of personhood drawing from the Kierkegaardian notion of the self as telos, Kwame Gyekye’s philosophy of relational personhood, and social-scientific discourses on the reconstitution of the self within modernity and digital culture.
|Ray Burbank (US) · My research focuses on conversion theology among evangelical missionaries and Marathi Christians connected to the Scottish mission in nineteenth-century Western India. I examine Christians and churches in Bombay, Poona, and Jalna alongside their ideological predecessors in British evangelicalism and Hindu bhakti and reformist groups. My thesis argues that these Christians demonstrate a corporate, or “horizontal,” understanding of conversion through their attention to the issues of church, caste, and country.
|Rathiulung Elias KC (India) · My project studies Christology among upland Tribal/Indigenous Baptists in Manipur, India. It combines social scientific and theological methods to analyse vernacular perceptions of Christ and their relations to their lifeworlds. Social change and continuities are interrogated through a theological framework of transformation and indigenisation. The framework is itself grounded in incarnational Christology and informed by Indigenous sensibilities. Through its methodologies and constructive recommendations, the thesis seeks to enrich Christological discourse in world Christianity.
|Elilo Ezung (India) · My research focusses on pneumatology in the Naga context of Northeast India. I am interested in exploring the kind of pneumatology that currently exists and the varying historical and socio-political factors that have given shape to it. By examining theological texts of selected tribal theologians in conversation with other theologians from various contexts, I aim to explicate key pneumatological themes namely community, creation, and charismata which will be helpful for the construction of a pneumatological framework that encompasses ‘spiritual’ and ‘concrete’ dimensions.
|Nuam Hatzaw (UK/Myanmar) · My research critiques Asian feminist theology from the standpoint of Zomi women in Chin State, Myanmar. Chin State is the least-developed region in Myanmar and is characterised by its remoteness, difficult terrain and extreme poverty and inequality. I’m interested in discovering how life in this context has shaped the ways in which Christian Zomi women understand and experience their faith. An interdisciplinary project, I combine theology with ethnography to construct a Zomi women’s theology, bringing it into conversation with Asian feminist theology. This project argues for the further contextualisation of Asian feminist theology so that it remains uplifting and liberating.
|Zihao He (China) · Zihao’s project aims to analyse the role of theology in constructing and conducting the anti-Manchu violence in the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864), the largest civil war in human history. Besides the textual analysis of the Taiping’s theology, the project will also provide a micro-level history, trying to understand why the theological construction was translated into actual violence.
|Jackie Hwang (US/Taiwan) · My research explores the themes of migration, multiple belonging, and transnationalism in Chinese Christianity beyond the geopolitical boundaries of China. It focuses on the interactions between Chinese students studying in Singapore’s universities and Singaporean Chinese Christians. It seeks to demonstrate that transnational connections take shape around a familial conception, literal and figurative, thereby providing a pathway for negotiating one’s sense of belonging in migration. My integration of ethnography and theology will also examine how this familial conception contributes to an understanding of missiology and ecclesiology in transnational Chinese contexts.
|David Lewis (Canada) · My research is a comparative project examining World Christianity approaches to ecotheology from various cultural and denominational perspectives, where I examine the theological works of Eastern Orthodox theologian John Chryssavgis, Kenyan, Roman Catholic environmentalist Wangari Maathai, and Norwegian Lutheran theologian Tore Johnsen. My critique of three themes prevalent within contemporary Western cosmologies, namely dualism, disconnection from the earth, and disenchantment leads to a consideration of three alternatives, namely holism, human interconnectedness with creation, and sacramentality.
|Christina Li (Hong Kong) · My project conducts a socio-historical study of Christianity in Hong Kong, exploring how Protestant churches formulated their mission strategies and were consciously or unconsciously shaped by the changing social and political contexts in Hong Kong from 1967-1997. It pays particular attention to four aspects that characterised the Hong Kong context in this period: rapid urbanisation, immigration, a highly developed business and free enterprise culture, and the concluding phase of British rule. The research hopes to contribute to scholarship on the history of Christianity in Hong Kong, as well as supplementing the secular scholarship on Asian Tiger economies, by addressing the roles and contributions of the Protestant Christian community.
|Jane Meng (China) · My research is on the spirituality of Jia Yuming (1880-1964), with particular attention to the influences from the holiness movement and neo-Confucianism. It will examine Jia’s spirituality in light of the neo-Confucian mind-heart school, thereby distinguishing certain common concerns and approaches to self-cultivation. Furthermore, my research will compare Jia’s mystical inclination with the idea of self-transformation in Western Christian mysticism, to explore the relevance of the Christian mystical tradition in developing a Chinese Christian spirituality. On the basis of the uniqueness of Jia’s spirituality, my project will further reflect on the prevailing paradigms of classifying Chinese theologians.
|Jeff Peterson (USA) · My project is a three-decade history (1965-1995) of theological engagement among the Crow people of Montana (USA) and a visionary cohort of Catholic missionaries who arrived following Vatican II (1962-1965). Because of the Crows’ location, collective identity, unique history and political relationships, the missionaries found an inviting place to attempt to carry out the ideals of Vatican II. This study will contribute to discussions concerning inculturation, syncretism, and multiple-religious belonging, and will also demonstrate how this particular engagement was part of broader networks of influence and understanding.
|Dongjun Seo (South Korea) · My research focuses on the endeavours for Christian unity beyond denominational boundaries among evangelicals in South Korea from 1961 to 1994. It analyses the nature, extent, characteristics, and limitations of the endeavours by looking at trans-denominational evangelical institutions, events, and figures. My project brings together archival documents and oral history. It hopes to contribute to wider scholarship in three main ways: on the meaning of Christian unity and ecumenism, on the study of an indigenised form of evangelicalism in the majority world, and on the study of modern evangelicalism in Korea.
|Emmanuel Tettey (Ghana) · My research examines Church-based credit unions and microfinance services in Ghana alongside the concept of Islamic finance in order to explore mutual learning opportunities for Christians and Muslims in the areas of theology, ethics, and practice as they seek to participate in financial services for societal good. It is my hope that my work would help develop an appropriate theology and Christian ethics to guide the ministry of the many church-based financial institutions in Ghana.
|Victoria Turner (UK) · My research concentrates on youth contributions to the concepts of mission and ecumenism by exploring two case studies, the Iona Community, founded in 1938, and the Council for World Mission, formed in 1977 (formally the London Mission Society founded in 1795). It explores how these bodies have understood, practiced, and prioritised both mission and Christian unity in their work and where young people fit in, have influenced their vision, or have practically contributed to their work. My project also uses ethnography to research the current understandings of these terms by young people involved in these organisations.
|Xie Dingjian (China) · My project is a theological investigation of Jingjiao in Tang China (CE 618–907), which originated in the Church of the East (formerly regarded as Nestorian Christianity) and contextualized in the Chinese context. Based on the Jingjiao corpus discovered in China in the 20th and 21st centuries, this research attempts to offer a coherent account of Jingjiao theology. Furthermore, it attempts to discuss the role of translation in the process of Christian transmission and theologizing. Uncovering the dialogic nature of Jingjiao brings about a dynamic picture of the encounters and the interactions between the Church of the East and Chinese culture.
|Zhu Biao (China/Canada) · My research examines the ecclesiological complexity of the Protestant Church in mainland China by identifying the distinctive Chinese ecclesiologies of four Chinese Protestant ecclesiological movements (namely, Little Flock, traditional house church, Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and urban house church). It shows how ecclesiological differences address different contextual needs. Furthermore, it develops an ecclesiological framework to assess the historical contextual requirements and the contemporary challenges of these Chinese ecclesiologies, and hopes to prompt developments among each movement.
|Alison Zilversmit (UK) · My project explores how the Anglican British mission organization United Society Partners in the Gospel incorporated constructions of socio-economic “development” and “aid” into their missiologies in the mid-20th century. I utilize an intellectual historical approach informed by theological and sociological considerations to analyze the USPG archives particularly within the global context of decolonization. I ask how this transition was shaped by and shaped global power-dynamics between this global northern Anglican agency and its global southern Anglican interlocutors, and whether development may be a cross-culturally informed category in USPG mission.