The Edward Bailey Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion, the first dedicated centre for the study of implicit religion in the world, has been launched at Bishop Grosseteste University by the Reverend Canon Professor Neil, Vice-Chancellor of BGU, together with Dr Francis Stewart, Implicit Religion Research Fellow.
Implicit Religion focuses on commitments, rituals, actions, rites of passage, behaviours and beliefs that appear in things we would not normally think of as ‘religious’, for example the game of football or knitting communities. To this end Edward Bailey suggested three areas for focus: commitment, integrating foci, and intensive concerns with extensive effects. These have been explored in a wide range of topics from art, shopping, Elvis fans, pilgrimage, Occupy protests, video games, Starbucks, punk rock, elective childlessness, animal rights, tattoos and sport.
The centre will serve as a hub for a wide range of activity including work in local schools, university modules, research projects, free public events in Lincoln. The centre aims to create new degree modules that are relevant and focused on implicit religion within Lincolnshire, to develop new degree courses that will bring international postgraduate students to BGU and be accessible for adults in Lincolnshire.
Speaking on behalf of BGU, Professor Neil said:
“Professor Bailey is synonymous with implicit religion and was well ahead of his time when he shaped the concept. The time is now right to expand the reach of the research exploring the concept of implicit religion to interpret the changing landscape of religion and spirituality in the UK. Theology is a core part of our University’s heritage and I am delighted to see us continuing to push the boundaries of its exploration with this new centre of excellence.”
As the lead of the new centre Dr Stewart expressed her excitement at how it would build on the legacy of Professor Bailey’s work:
“What do we mean when we say something is religious? What do we mean when we say something is not religious? Do we ever stop to consider if the person we are speaking to or about understands the word religion in the same way that we do? These are all questions that drive the study of Implicit Religion, a fascinating area of theological study that I look forward to being able to bring to a new generation of scholars.”
BGU’s growing involvement in the study of implicit religion saw the institution host the 42nd Implicit Religion Conference earlier this year. The call for paper for the 43rd conference, which will also be held at at the University, is now open and submissions are free for all Lincoln residents. The Conference’s theme will be ‘Implicit Religion, Race and Representation’ and will feature a keynote speech from Dr Ipsita Chatterjea, an expert on race and violence.
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