Quality of Research
School of Religious and Theological Studies
Research Assessment Exercise (2008)
|Unit of Assessment||Staff submitted (FTE)||By percentage, research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard|
|Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies (N61)||12.00||4||3||2||1||UC|
(Overall quality profile in blocks of 5%)
The School of Religious and Theological Studies is one of the most distinguished and respected centres for research in its field in the UK.
The School's research community is arranged around a number of Centres, Groups & Projects, which aim to draw together specialists working in a number of different areas and disciplines. Research is divided into three main areas – religion in late antiquity, the history of Asian religions and religion within contemporary society.
The School has an active research culture and is home to a lively postgraduate community. The School’s staff supervise postgraduate researchers working across a range of topics, covering both textual and social scientific approaches to religious studies, and the School has a high success rate in obtaining research studentships from funding bodies, especially the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Postgraduate Researchers also benefit from an Inter-School Humanities Postgraduate Research Seminar Series which is led by the School.
The School of Religious & Theological Studies is a leading centre for research.
The School is home to two interdisciplinary research centres: The Centre for Late Antique Religion and Culture and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. The Centre for the Study of Islam is the only one of its kind; researchers study the issues facing Muslims in the UK through projects supported by a number of major research awards. These projects include the training of Muslim religious professionals, and research on Islam and young Bangladeshis in the UK and in Bangladesh (a joint project with the School’s research group on the Body, Health and Religion, BAHAR).
The Body, Health and Religion group also carries out work on medical and yogic practices in the Tibetan Buddhist and Bon religions, with two further major research awards in this area.
The School has a research collaboration with two associated theological colleges, St Michael’s College Llandaff and South Wales Baptist College, including a major new initiative in research into chaplaincies. This will be relevant to many of the institutions where Chaplains work, including hospitals, schools, prisons and hospices.
A key theme of the work on late antiquity is the way knowledge transferred between different cultures and how religion played a part – a feature of great relevance to today’s world. This includes the way Christianity interacted with both the late Graeco-Roman religions and with early Islam.
The expertise in the Asian religions group covers India, Central Asia, China and Japan, focusing on Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism and on relevant languages.
A key theme is the way narrative texts are used to transmit religious knowledge in Asia. This includes study of the classic tales of the Mahabharata, the Vedas and classical Sanskrit literature. Narrative studies are emerging as an important focus in research on Asian religions, and the School has particular strengths in this area, and in the anthropological study of Asian religions.