Personal profile


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. 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.

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 (2013) 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 'Contextual Theology and the Politics of Faith' and the development a cross-cultural and interfaith contextual theology project entitled the 'Faith and Peaceful Relations Forum'. Currently he is developing an action-research project funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government that focuses 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. 


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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

faith Social Sciences
Great Britain Social Sciences
theology Social Sciences
youth Social Sciences
multicultural society Social Sciences
referendum Social Sciences
conflict Social Sciences
diversity Social Sciences

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

Research Output 1999 2018

Subversive Sacred Spaces in the 'Secular' City

Shannahan, C. 2018 The Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity. Beaumont, J. (ed.). Routledge, Vol. (in press), p. (in press)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Sacred space

'Desmond Tutu Was Right'

Shannahan, C. 29 May 2017 In : Open Democracy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Desmond Tutu
Public sphere
South Africa

Immanuel Kant believed in zombies – Multiculturalism and Spirituality in the Postcolonial City

Shannahan, C. 1 Mar 2017 Living Together After Empire: Postcolonial Theology in the 21st Century City. Bharath Patta, R., Dunn , J. & Joziasse, H. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, Vol. (in press), p. (in press)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Immanuel Kant

The Casey Review: Great leap forward or a missed opportunity?

Shannahan, C. 11 Jan 2017

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

Open Access
Great Britain

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

multicultural society
Great Britain
political theology

Activities 2005 2018

External Examiner

Shannahan, C. (Examiner)
1 Jan 2018 → …

Activity: Examination

Sky Blues City

Shannahan, C. (Participant)
26 Apr 2017

Activity: Participation in conference

Coventry Cathedral (External organisation)

Shannahan, C. (Member)
12 Apr 2017 → …

Activity: Membership of council

The Linking Network - Schools Linking

Shannahan, C. (Speaker)
6 Nov 2017

Activity: Participation in conference

Ethnicities (Journal)

Shannahan, C. (Peer Reviewer)
1 Jul 2017

Activity: Publication peer-review

Press / Media

'Sunday' BBC Radio 4

Christopher Shannahan


1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment

Religion and Hip-Hop

Christopher Shannahan


1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment

Social Exclusion and Urban Youth Spiritualities

Christopher Shannahan


1 item of media coverage

Press / Media: Research

Urban Theology and Social Justice

Christopher Shannahan


1 item of media coverage

Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities

BBBC News Midlands Today

Christopher Shannahan


1 item of media coverage

Press / Media: Research