Dr Josh Edelman

Dr Joshua Edelman is reader in drama and contemporary performance and head of the Manchester School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University. Though his original training is in the anthropology of religion, he has worked for over a decade as a theatre director, largely in Dublin and New York. His research looks at both theatre and religion as fields of social performance, especially in the contemporary West. He is the editor of the journal Performance, Religion and Spirituality and a member of the Project on European Theatre Systems (STEP).

His books include Performing Religion in Public (co-edited with Claire Chambers and Simon du Toit, Routledge 2013) and The Problem of Theatrical Autonomy: Analysing Theatre as a Social Practice (co-authored with Quirijn van den Hoogen and Louise Hansen, Amsterdam University Press, 2016). He has written about topics including progressive Jewish liturgical music, the scandal of false witness in testimonial theatre, the Oberammergau passion play, sacred space and the Occupy Wall Street movement, rituals of healing and anger in response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Irish Catholic Church, and the value theatre holds to its audiences in journals including Performance Research, Cultural Trends, Amfiteater, Nordic Theatre Studies, Ecumenica and Liturgy. Originally from the US, he now splits his time between London and Manchester, two wonderful places for art, theatre, running, and explorations of the beautiful English countryside.

Dr Sean Durbin

Dr Sean Durbin is an award winning scholar of contemporary religion. His research interests include religion and politics, religion and society, and new religious movements, studied from an anthropological and sociological perspective. His first book, Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, analysed the way leaders of this organisation presented themselves as God’s instruments, how they defined themselves as ‘authentic’ Christians in opposition to others, and the linguistic and performative ways they achieved this. From 2014 to 2019 he was editor of the journal Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception. In addition to his work on ReCoVira, he is also working on a collaborative book project tentatively titled, Beyond Apocalypse: Christian Zionism in the Contemporary World. Prior to joining MMU, Dr Durbin held positions at Macquarie University, The University of Newcastle, Australian Catholic University, Canterbury Christchurch University, and the University of London.

Dr Emmanuel Ossai

Dr Emmanuel Ossai holds a PhD in religious studies from Edinburgh University. He has taught religion and done ethnographic research in Nigeria and Britain. His major research interest has been the broad relationship between religion, peace, and conflict, and his doctoral research explored the impact of religious leaders, religious peace norms, and religious peace activism on the attitudes of believers towards religious others using ethnographic data from Nigeria. Since the emergence of COVID-19, he has studied various aspects of the pandemic’s relationship with religion, peace, and conflict. Currently, he is interested in immigrant communities in Britain, especially first generation African immigrants. Recently, he conducted ethnographic research on the possible effects of migration, COVID-19, and the increasing digitalisation which characterizes this virtual age on the religious life of first-generation Nigerian immigrants in Edinburgh. Dr Ossai’s research has been published in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Studies in World Christianity, and African Security.

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