Towards a Theory and Practice of Religious Literacy: A Case Study of Religion and Belief Engagement in a UK University

Dinham, Adam; Francis, Matthew and Shaw, Martha. 2017. Towards a Theory and Practice of Religious Literacy: A Case Study of Religion and Belief Engagement in a UK University. Religions, 8(12), 276. ISSN 2077-1444 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article reports on research undertaken in 2011–2012 into the role of religion and belief in one British university. In this indicative qualitative case study, we observed six important features in relation to religion and belief: a clear divide in attitudes to the place of religion and belief between operations and curriculum; a lack of knowledge and understanding of the religious landscape within the institution; differing and localized responses to religion and belief within and between departments; variation in the approaches of different academic disciplines; very strong desire to promote a good student experience, which included a recognition that some students identify as religious; and that religious and non-religious perspectives are widely conceived of as binary, meaning either ‘secular’ or religious. We conclude that these findings demonstrate, at this institution, a struggle to think and act strategically and consistently on religion and belief, and suggest that, because of their influential educational positions, this reflects and reproduces muddled thinking and acting about religion and belief in wider society.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


religious literacy, higher education, religion, universities

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society


14 December 2017Accepted
20 December 2017Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2017 12:10

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:03

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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