My PhD thesis was a study of the ‘race relations’ work of Christians in the sixties in England, with specific reference to a Methodist church in Notting Hill. As such, it was also a study of English racisms: how they were fought against and how they were denied and facilitated. Additionally, I paid attention to the interface of ‘religion’ and politics and the radical restatement of Christianity in the sixties. My supervisors were Prof. Richard Toye, Prof. Andrew Thompson, and Dr Gajendra Singh, and my examiners were Prof. Stephen Tuck (Pembroke College, Oxford) and Prof. Andrew Thorpe (Exeter). I passed my viva with no corrections in November 2016 and I was funded throughout by the AHRC. See here for some short blogs about the thesis.
Prior to my doctoral work, I gained an MLitt with distinction in Iranian Studies from the University of St. Andrews. My dissertation was entitled, ‘Educational Reform in Iran: A Dialogue with Modernity’. My undergraduate degree was from the School of Oriental and African Studies where I gained a first class degree in the Study of Religions. At SOAS, I focussed on the histories of the religions of the near and middle east and central Asia, and my two final ISPs (aka dissertations) enquired into the construction of knowledge, with specific reference to the category ‘religion’ and also that of secularism. As you can see, my PhD was a bit of a departure from my earlier degrees. I wouldn’t recommend this as a strategy, but I always have done things in the most complicated and convoluted ways possible, so it’s fitting.
I’m particularly concerned with the utility of academic work as it pertains to the world outside of academia. Frankly, I bust my metaphorical balls to get this PhD and I don’t want my research to remain within the closed circle of academia. Therefore, I guess I’m more interested in ‘public history’ and how historians can make their work socially useful as part of an overall ethic of resistance to this disgustingly unequal neoliberal world we’re all trapped in.