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.
Selection of Current PhD Students
|Nico 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 (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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
|Andrew Ong (USA)
My research analyses the various concerns and theological conversations that have arisen amongst contemporary Chinese American evangelicals. It further considers the merits of Amos Yong’s Pentecostalism as a resource for Chinese American evangelicals, before arguing for the merits of Neo-Calvinism as a possible complementary or supplementary resource for engaging in a contextualised Chinese American evangelical theology.
|Daniel Qin (China)
My research is on the theological evolution of contemporary Chinese Protestant Christianity. It consists of case studies on selected church figures’ theologies, and the social context as the background will be investigated. The research aims to explore selected church figures’ dominant theological concerns over time and to what extent and in what ways have they addressed the contemporary social context.
|Matt 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 (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.
|Allie Schwarr (UK)
My research investigates the origins and increase of cultural diversity in a historic, international, evangelical mission agency, SIM, focusing on the issues and challenges of this diversity, and seeking to measure the extent to which increased cultural diversity has become a source of strength as the organisation has responded to these challenges. My research will consider to what extent SIM’s pursuit of an ethos of diversity was innovative, and in what ways this was representative of existing trends.
|Hoon Song (South Korea)
My research is on forgiveness and reconciliation in post-war Korea. It consists of a critical analysis of two different theological approaches of South Korean Protestant churches toward the unification of Korea (c. 1972-2010) and an investigation into an alternative and constructive theology toward peace and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula, borrowing theological and therapeutic ideas pertaining to healing memories and forgiveness. This study, I hope, would constitute a small step made by Christians of the world towards peacebuilding in Northeast Asia.
|Xie 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
- Stephen Halley Donoho (2018), ‘“[A] humbled China will be more open to receive the salvation of Jesus Christ!”: Two church periodicals’ views on the Cing-Japanese war and Japanese-Táiwanese war’
- Dhinakaran R. J. Prasad Phillips (2018), ‘Evaluating contemporary Protestant missions to children at risk in South India: investigating foundations and principles for future Christian mission’
- David Wilson McMahon (2018), ‘Analysis of the reception and appropriation of the Bible by Manobo Christians in Central Mindanao, Philippines’
- Sara Afshari (2017), ‘Reception of Christian television in contemporary Iran: An analysis of audience interactions and negotiations’
- Amos Bongadu Chewachong (2017), ‘Intra-African Pentecostalism and the dynamics of power: the Living Faith Church worldwide (Winners’ Chapel) in Cameroon, 1996-2016’
- Christopher Sabanal (2016), ‘Emerging Critical Social Awareness in Evangelical Theological Pilgrimages in the Philippines’
- David C. Kirkpatrick (2015), ‘C. René Padilla: Integral Mission and the Reshaping of Global Evangelicalism’
- Corey L. Williams (2015), ‘Interreligious Encounter in a West African City: A Study of Multiple Religious Belonging and Identity Among the Yorùbá of Ogbómòsó, Nigeria’
- Eric L. Williams (2015), ‘More than tongues can tell: significations in Black Pentecostal thought’
- Andrew Kaiser (2015), ‘Encountering China: the evolution of Timothy Richard’s missionary thought (1870-1891)’