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St Mary's Professor Appointed Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford

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St Mary's Professor Appointed Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford

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Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion at St Mary's University, Twickenham, Prof Stephen Bullivant has been awarded a visiting research fellowship at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. Blackfriars, founded by the Dominican Order, is one of Oxford University's three Catholic Permanent Private Halls. The appointment is for Oxford's Hilary and Trinity terms, spanning January to July 2017. During this period, Prof Bullivant will advance a number of research projects. These include a statistical survey of the British 'nonreligious' population and an exploration of moral and social attitudes among Catholics in South Africa. He will also continue work on a new book, provisionally titled Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation since Vatican II. Although still primarily based at St Mary's, he will be a regular visitor to Blackfriars, not least for its extensive library resources. Prof Bullivant will also present some of his research at a seminar in Oxford early summer. Commenting on his appointment, Prof Bullivant said, “I have a long, informal association with Blackfriars, dating back to visiting while an undergraduate elsewhere at the University of Oxford. Indeed, the people, liturgies, and ideas I encountered there are a large part of why and how I ended up as both a Catholic and a theologian. “I still have many friends at Blackfriars, including some St Mary's alumni, so I feel immensely grateful and honoured to have this opportunity to reconnect, on a more formal footing, with Blackfriars and its remarkable academic community.” Prof Bullivant joined St Mary's in 2009. He is the Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. The Centre, which was formally launched in May with the Holy See's blessing, has had a very successful maiden year. Findings from its first research report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales, made the frontpage of The Guardian in May. The Centre has also had a string of research grant successes, including £2.3 million from the John Templeton Foundation (in partnership with colleagues at Kent, Coventry, and Queen's Belfast) for the 3-year 'Understanding Unbelief' project. Qualified individuals interested in pursuing a PhD, or organizations interested in commissioning research with the Centre, are advised to contact its administrator, Kit Penny, in the first instance: kathryn.penny@stmarys.ac.uk.
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