The Archives at Conway Hall

Liz Lutgendorff, Phd student at Oxford Brookes and Chair of Conway Hall Ethical Society, has provided the NSRN with an informative overview of the archive facilities offered by Conway Hall in London which may be helpful to researchers of secularism and nonreligion.

As part of my research into the history of atheism and secularism in the UK, I’ve become involved with Conway Hall Ethical Society (CHES) and I am currently the chair of Trustees. CHES may be better known to some as the South Place Ethical Society or South Place Chapel. It started as a radical Unitarian church in the eighteenth century and gradually evolved into a secular, ethical society in the late nineteenth century. It is now the only Ethical Society remaining in the UK and only one of two freethought and secular organisations in the UK with a hall purposely built for the promotion of ethical, secular, or humanist principles in the UK (the other being Leicester Secular Hall). Continue reading


Conference Guides: Nonreligion at AAR 2012 (1st guide)

The NSRN is pleased to announce an additional service for scholars attending conferences not specifically focused on nonreligion, but still covering the field to some extent or another — the publication of conference guides. These guides will contain a distillation of all the sessions/panels and individual papers relating to the field of nonreligion scheduled for the upcoming conference. We will announce the publication of new guides in our news feed (like we are now) but we will also archive them on the new Conference Guides page. If you have any questions or suggestions about the conference guides please direct them to Per Smith.

Without further ado, here is the very first conference guide:

American Academy of Religion (AAR) 2012

What is Phenomenology? First report for the Religious Study Project published today

What is Phenomenology?

Jonathan Tuckett, University of Stirling

The first response report has been published by the Religious Studies Project, on today, 20 January 2012. This report responds to the Religious Studies Project Interview with James Cox on ”The Phenomenology of Religion” (14 January 2012), published with the launch of the project this week.

About the Author

Jonathan is currently a PhD student at the University of Stirling. He has an MA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MSc in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh. His research is on the phenomenological method in the study of religion. Areas of interest include the phenomenology of religion, theory and method in the study of religion, and philosophy of religion

The Religious Studies Project Launches Today

Today saw the launch of the Religious Studies Project, directed by Christopher R. Cotter and David G. Robertson in association with the British Association for the Study of Religions.

The project will allow some great dialogue between scholars, researchers, in fact anyone with an interest in contemporary issues in Religious Studies. Every Monday, they’ll be putting out a new podcast featuring an interview with a  leading international scholar, presenting a key idea in  the contemporary socio-scientific study of religion in a concise and accessible way. You can find the podcast and accompanying notes here, or you can also subscribe on iTunes to make sure you always get the latest episode.

Each Wednesday, they will also feature a resource to help postgraduate students and aspiring academics. And on Fridays  a response to each of the podcast will be put up, reflecting on, expanding upon or disagreeing with the Monday podcast. Plus much more, including conference reports, opinion, publishing opportunities, book reviews.

Please take some time today to have a look at the Religious Studies Project site, follow them on Twitter, “Like” them on Facebook or rate them on iTunes. Feel free to share this with friends, on you facebook wall or  post to interested networks.

British Social Attitudes Survey Reveals 50% of Britons have “No Religion”

The National Centre for Social Research has published its British Social Attitudes Survey 2011-2012. You can see the full report, authored by Lucy Lee, on the website of the “National Centre for Social Research”, which conducted the survey.

Table 12.1 Religious Affiliation Taken from the BSA survey 2011_12

The report demonstrates that the proportion of those who claim to be Christian [Church of England] is much lower at 20%, than suggested by the 2001 Census, which claimed 71.7% of people in England and Wales were identified as Christian. The second overwhelming finding was that 50% of the population claimed no religion, in comparison to the 14.5% stating no-religion in the 2001 Census. The other statistics remain fairly consistent, suggesting perhaps that many of the “nones” have migrated from the category of “Christian” or “Church of England” self-identification to having none. However, more data is needed before such hypothesis can be upheld so we eagerly await the Census Data 2011, but perhaps this show early signs of the success of the BHA Census 2011 campaign and others like it, which have bought identification as an issue to the fore.

The Census 2001 Key Statistics, Local Authorities in England and Wales can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.

NSRN Launch New Website!

The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN) are proud to announce the launch of their new website –!

The NSRN website has been going from strength to strength since its relaunch in November 2009 at the site – but wide-interest in and growing membership of the NSRN means we’ve needed to expand our services. After weeks and months of development with the new online editorial team, the next generation NSRN website is here!

Visit to take  a look.

*Although the old . address will still be around for a while, we’d be extremely grateful for anyone linking to the site to amend their records, citations, links and so forth. The NSRN is truly international, in membership and audiences, and we felt it was important to reflect this in the web address – and we appreciate your help in implementing this change*

A preview of some of the new things we provide on the site:

We’ve also updated and expanded our existing services and resources. The new site boasts,

And we now have a range of new Thoroughly Modern features, including:

  • full integration with the NSRN’s new Twitter feed
  • full integration with the NSRN’s new Facebook page

… and which will enable users to keep up to date with NSRN news and resources in whatever way suits you:

New features and older material are now fully archived and easily searchable.

We hope you like it. As ever, comments and suggestions are always encouraged.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could circulate this information around any individuals or groups that you think might be interested. As a research network, we rely upon the input of our members and friends in the collation and dissemination of information. If you notice any errors or omissions, or are aware of any events, resources, articles etc that we should be promoting, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

With kind regards from,

The NSRN Online Team

Teaching Atheism and Nonreligion

The British Higher Education Authority have just published an article on teaching atheism and nonreligion in its online journal Discourse. Our very own Stephen Bullivant discusses the module he has developed on the subject, as well as detailing some resources available for teachers and students. The article is open access and available here…

 The NSRN is developing a new web resource dealing with teaching and funding resources, and will point students in the direction of Bullivant’s module at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, a module that has been developed at Aberdeen University and and the Secularism major at Pitzer College. If anyone knows of other teaching resources or dedicated funding calls that they think it would be helpful for researchers to be aware of, please email Lois at