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Personal profile

Biography

Prior to joining Coventry University in 2015 Chris Shannahan was the head of Religious Education in a large East London Secondary school; a youth worker in the East End of London and Trenchtown, Jamaica; a Methodist Minister in inner-city London and Birmingham and a community organiser. This grassroots experience provided the grounding for his research in urban theology, sociology of religion and diversity studies and the basis of his PhD, within which he developed the first critical analysis of urban theology in the UK (2008, University of Birmingham). On completing his doctorate he became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and then a Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham (2009-2012) where he developed a major ethnographic project working alongside unemployed young men on a large Birmingham housing estate and pioneered the teaching of urban theology and political theology. In 2013 he moved to the University of Manchester to take up the position of Lecturer in Religions and Theology where he taught courses on Political Theology, Urban Theology, Myth, the Study of Religion and Introducing Christian Theology. Alongside his research into Chrisitian action on poverty, Theology and Racism and faith-based political activism he is currently developing a cross-cultural and interfaith contextual theology project entitled the 'Faith and Peaceful Relations Forum' and is the coordinator of research on intercultural dialogue and diversity at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. You can find out more about his current research on Twitter at @ChrisShannahan.

His first monograph, Voices from the Borderland (2010) was described as a ‘ground-breaking’ example of cross-cultural urban theology and is a set text at Universities and Theological Colleges in the UK, the USA and Australia. His second monograph, A Theology of Community Organizing (2014) provided the first systematic theological analysis of broad-based community organising. His research utilises Hip-Hop culture, as seen in his 2012 partnership with the street artist Mohammed ‘aerosol’ Ali on Chris's ‘Bromford Dreams – Graffiti Spiritualities’ action research project. At present he is working on his third book, provisionally entitled 'Christianity, 'Race' and the Politics of Faith'. 

His recent 'Schools Linking and Social Cohesion' action-research project, which was funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government focused on the Schools Linking National Programme run by The Linking Network, which is committed to fostering greater understanding of other cultures and religions amongst school-children across England as a means of fostering social cohesion.

He is the Principal Investigator on a major new three year urban theology project 'Life on the Breadline - Christianity, Politics and Poverty in the 21st century city', which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. In this project Shannahan, his two CO-Is - Professor Robert Beckford and Professor Peter Scott and Research Associate, Dr Stephanie Denning is analysing the nature, scope and impact of Christian engagement with urban poverty in the UK since the 2008 financial crash. Based around 6 original ethnographic case studies and more than 100 interviews the project represents the first evidence-based academic theological analysis of poverty in the UK in an 'age of austerity'. You can keep up to date on Twitter using the hashtag #BreadlineResearch. His most recent paper, 'The violence of poverty: Theology and activism in an Age of Austerity' (Political Theology) introduces a number of the key themes that the project will explore.

 

Vision Statement

My research focuses on the relationship between social exclusion, the life of multicultural cities and urban political theology. My approach to research reflects the vision articulated by Cornel West who suggests that academics are called to ‘shine a light on the social misery that dominant forces within society often keep hidden.’ My work alongside young gang members in Trenchtown Jamaica, HIV+ homeless people in San Francisco, unemployed young men on urban housing estates, inter-faith community organising networks and British-Muslim youth in inner city Birmingham has reflected a fundamental commitment to research and teaching for progressive social change. You can find out more about my work by visiting my Blog, Finding Faith in an Urban World.

Research Interests

Urban Theology; Theology and Poverty; Religion and Politics; Hip-Hop culture; Theology and Multiculturalism; Christianty and Racism; Theologies of Reconciliation; Faith-based Peacebuilding

Education/Academic qualification

Theology, Doctorate, University of Birmingham

20032008

Theology, Degree, University of Birmingham

19901992

Religion and Sociology, Degree, Goldsmiths College, University of London

19811984

External positions

External Examiner, University of Chester

1 Jan 2018 → …

Peer Reviewer, Routledge

1 Jan 2017 → …

Peer Reviewer, Culture and Religion academic Journal

2017 → …

Peer Reviewer, Ethnicities academic Journal

2017 → …

Peer Reviewer, European Political Science academic Journal

2017 → …

External Examiner, Canterbury Christ Church University

1 Sep 2016 → …

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Chris Shannahan is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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theology Social Sciences
faith Social Sciences
spirituality Social Sciences
multicultural society Social Sciences
graffiti Social Sciences
social cohesion Social Sciences
exclusion Social Sciences
Religion Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2018

The Violence of Poverty - Theology and Activism in an 'Age of Austerity'

Shannahan, C., 8 Nov 2018, In : Political Theology. (In-Press), p. (In-Press) 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Austerity
Poverty
Activism
Theology
Defeat
1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)

Zombie multiculturalism meets liberative difference: Searching for a new discourse of diversity

Shannahan, C., 20 Feb 2017, In : Culture and Religion. 17, 4, p. 409-430 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
multicultural society
discourse
political theology
social cohesion
hermeneutics

Voices from the Borderland: Re-imagining Cross-Cultural Urban Theology in the 21st Century,

Shannahan, C., 15 Dec 2010, London/New York: Routledge. 256 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

twenty first century
theology
globalization
post-colonialism
post-modernism

A Theology of Community Organizing: Power to the people

Shannahan, C., 2014, 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge. 210 p. (Routledge Studies in Religion)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Theology
Organizing
Public Sphere
Faith
Rise

Christian Social Action

Shannahan, C., 1 May 2018, (Accepted/In press) The Bloomsbury Handbook on Christianity. Chryssides, G. & Gregg, S. (eds.). Bloomsbury Academic, Vol. (in press). p. (in press)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Activities 2005 2018

External Examiner

Chris Shannahan (Examiner)
1 Jan 2018 → …

Activity: Examination

Society for the Study of Theology

Chris Shannahan (Speaker)
11 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The Linking Network - Schools Linking

Chris Shannahan (Speaker)
6 Nov 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Ethnicities (Journal)

Chris Shannahan (Peer Reviewer)
1 Jul 2017

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Coventry Cathedral (External organisation)

Chris Shannahan (Member)
12 Apr 2017 → …

Activity: MembershipMembership of council

Press / Media

'Sunday' BBC Radio 4

Chris Shannahan

26/11/17

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Religion and Hip-Hop

Chris Shannahan

19/06/17

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Social Exclusion and Urban Youth Spiritualities

Chris Shannahan

18/03/13

1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Urban Theology and Social Justice

Chris Shannahan

21/05/12

1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities