Research Students

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.

Current PhD Students

Nico Brice-BennettNico Brice-Bennett (UK)
My research focuses on the history of Christianity and socio-political thought in Tanzania in the second half of the twentieth century. It was a period when a strong national identity emerged and overt adherence to religious and ethnic identities was discouraged. Yet religion remained an important aspect of Tanzanian people’s lives, and religious institutions—primarily Christian ones—were responsible for the education of many of the nation’s post-independence leaders. My project combines archival research with ethnographic fieldwork in Kilimanjaro and Kagera, and focuses on oral histories amongst Catholic and Lutheran Chagga and Haya people.
Jeffrey Cannon Jeffrey Cannon (USA)
My thesis looks at attitudes within the Church of Scotland toward race and colonialism in Africa. Using images in church-produced magazines, newspapers, and other media, I examine both official and unofficial discourses within the church regarding South African apartheid and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Calida ChuCalida Chu (Hong Kong)
My project aims to construct a Protestant public theology in post-97 Hong Kong. It analyses existing groups of Hong Kong public theologians (namely, Anglican theologians, scholars in Sino-Christian theology, and evangelical theologians), and argues that, although these groups have different theological emphases in the public sphere, they co-exist in a way that complement each other’s theology. I employ Stanley Hauerwas’s Christology and ecclesiology to suggest how evangelical theologians, in the post-Umbrella era, may be witnesses of Christ in the public sphere.
Karl DahlfredKarl Dahlfred (USA)
My research explores the ways in which modernizing trends in theology and society affected the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand and the Thai churches with whom they were associated from the 1890s through the onset of World War II. Using archival documents from the United States and Thailand, I examine how American missionaries and Thai Christians were impacted by modernism and fundamentalism, whether the theological and mission commitments of the American Presbyterian mission in Thailand changed, and how the trends towards nationalism and nationalization influenced the development of Thai Protestant Christianity.
Tore JohnsenTore Johnsen (Norway)
My research involves a qualitative insider’s study of Northern Sami popular Christianity (Norway). The aim is to generate resources for the construction of cosmologically-oriented Christian theology with relevancy to wider Christian discourse. The analysis of the Sami material is informed by perspectives from Native American and African theologies. Indigenous methodology is employed in the study’s methodological framework.
Nuam HatzawNuam 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.
Christina LiChristina 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.
Elizabeth MarteijnElizabeth Marteijn (the Netherlands)
The question at the core of my thesis is how theology and context influence each other within the Palestinian Christian community. I am interested in employing a combination of theology and ethnography to explore the complex intersection between theology, tradition, politics, interreligious encounter and how Palestinian Christians negotiate these multiple factors.
Jane MengJane Meng (China)
My research is an in-depth study on the spirituality of Jia Yuming (1880-1964), with particular attention to its theological resources from the holiness movement and underlying neo-Confucian influences. 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.
Matt ReisMatt Reis (USA)
My thesis seeks to research the different ways that Brazilian Evangélicos in South Florida understand their identity and mission as an immigrant minority in the US, within their specific diasporic contexts. I am interested in analyzing the connections and disconnections in the areas of identity and concepts of missions amongst Brazilian Evangélicos of varied diasporic contexts, and across different generations.
Lucy Schouten Lucy Schouten (USA)
My research is a cross-disciplinary exploration within World Christianity, Migration Studies, and political theology. I am seeking to understand how the Arab churches of Jordan are responding to—and being transformed by—the migration crisis in the Middle East that began in 2012. This research will address the relevant issues of Christian ecumenism and Christian-Muslim relations both in the Middle East and worldwide. I also seek to develop a working understanding for a theology of hospitality in one of the countries most affected by migration, while attending to the concerns for faith, witness, and emigration specific to Christians in contemporary Jordan. This research is heavily informed by several months of fieldwork in Jordan.
Xie DingjianXie Dingjian (China)
My project is a theological investigation of Jingjiao (known as the Luminous Religion) in Tang China (CE 618–907), a form of Christianity originating from the Church of the East (also known as East Syriac Christianity and formerly regarded as Nestorian Christianity) and contextualized in the Chinese context. By making use of 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.

Selection of Recently Completed PhDs