NSRN Online Team


The NSRN Online team are responsible for everything that appears on this website and the NSRN Blog. Each member of the team is at various stages of their research, and all have distinct roles within NSRN Online. For information on those involved in the day-to-day running and overall vision of the NSRN as a whole, please see the NSRN Directors page.

Press queries should be directed to Lois or to any of the NSRN directors. For  email addresses, please follow the hyperlinks at each person’s name.


Christopher R. Cotter

Religious Studies, Lancaster University, UK

Chris is a co-director of the NSRN and is responsible for the general overseeing and maintenance of website, is an executive editor of the NSRN blog, and maintains the NSRN Bibliography.

Chris is a third year Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Studies at Lancaster University, UK. His research focuses upon the discourses on ‘religion’ in the Southside of Edinburgh, the concepts of ‘non-religion’ and ‘the secular’, and the ensuing theoretical implications for Religious Studies. His previous degrees at the University of Edinburgh focused upon ‘New Atheism’ and alternative typologies of ‘non-religion’. Chris has published journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews in these areas. He is co-editor of Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett (Ashgate, 2013), and the forthcoming collections New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates (with Philip Quadrio, Springer) and After ‘World Religions’: Reconstructing Religious Studies (with David G. Robertson, Routledge). He was appointed as a director of the NSRN in 2014, and has managed the website and bibliography since 2011. He is also founding editor and podcast co-host at The Religious Studies Project. See his personal blog, or academia.edu page for a full CV.

Lorna Mumford

Anthropology, University College London

Lorna is  is responsible for the general overseeing and maintenance of website, and is the editor-in-chief with responsibility for the day-to-day management of Nonreligion and Secularity, the NSRN Blog.

A PhD student in the department of anthropology, University College London, Lorna’s research comprises an ethnographic exploration of nonreligious value systems and notions of morality. Her aim is to develop a deeper understanding of what nonreligious people mean when they talk of ‘living a good life without God’. For more information about Lorna visit her profile page at Academia.edu.

Deputy Editor

Katie Aston

Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Katie is currently on sabbatical from NSRN work as she finishes writing up her Ph.D. thesis.

In 2006 Katie completed her BA (hons) in fine at Wimbledon School of Art in 2006.  She went on to complete her Masters in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University, with a dissertation investigating gender performance within contemporary Stand Up comedy in London. Building on a pilot study of the Atheist Bus Campaign, Katie is currently undertaking an ethnographic study of non-religious value construction and material cultures. She is looking specifically at rationalism and the role Christian heritage within non-religious individuals and organisation under the Supervision of Dr. Emma Tarlo and Dr. David Graeber.  This study draws on aspects of visual culture within a rationalist organisation and from studies of Humanist ceremonies, taking a broad historical perspective from the Freethought archives of Bishopsgate Institute. She has also worked on the Moroccan Memories Oral History Project and in an educational and front of house capacity at the Tate Gallery in London.

Assistant  Editors

Nathan Alexander

History, University of St. Andrews, UK400480_321189627925542_1317679353_n(1)

Nathan is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related posts for the NSRN blog with an historical theme.

Nathan Alexander is currently a PhD student in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. He completed his BA (Honours History) at the University of Waterloo and his MA (History) at Wilfrid Laurier University, both of which are in Canada, where he is also from. His research project examines the views of atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers on the idea of race in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World, with special focus on the United States and Britain. Historians have suggested that the loss of faith in Christianity in the nineteenth century played a role in the rise of racial thinking, but surprisingly the views of atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers on race have yet to be studied in detail. For more information about Nathan visit his university website or Academia.edu page.

Josh Bullock

Sociology, University of Kingston, UKJosh Bullock Photo

Josh is responsible for the publication of upcoming events to  NSRN online, and the commissioning of event reports for the NSRN blog.

Josh is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Kingston London. He completed his BA Hons (Media, Cultural Studies and Sociology) at the University of the West of England and his MSc at Bristol University (Social and Cultural Theory). His doctoral research is to deepen public understanding of the recent phenomenon of godless congregations, using the Sunday Assembly London to develop broader understandings of the nature of belief, community, belonging, wonder and atheist identity. Josh studies under the supervision of Doctor Sylvia Collins-Mayo, Doctor Sonya Sharma and Professor Basia Spalek. For more information about Josh visit his university website or his blog page.

Janet Eccles

Independent Researcher, UKJanet Eccles

Janet is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related blog posts for the NSRN blog from a social scientific perspective.

Janet Eccles completed her doctoral thesis in 2010 at Lancaster University on older women’s religious/nonreligious and value commitments in an area of northwest England. She then became research associate on the Young Atheists project at Lancaster, which investigated young people who self-identify as atheist. Since then she has become an independent scholar with interests in a wide range of sacred/secular/nonreligious issues, particularly as applied to women, including those of social class and, more recently, hospital chaplaincy. She has published on various of these themes and is currently undertaking a project on older women who have been brought up in non-religious families.

Jonathan Jong

Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK

Jonathan is responsible for maintaining the lists of current researchers and postgraduate researchers in the NSRN Research Directories. If you think you should be listed, or know of others who have been omitted please do get in touch.

He is the Research Co-ordinator for the Ritual, Community, and Conflict project at the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, University of Oxford. Prior to this, he completed his PhD. in experimental psychology and philosophy of religion at the University of Otago, New Zealand, with a thesis entitled “Scaring the bejesus into people: the effects of mortality salience on explicit and implicit religious belief”. His research interests include the effects of ritual participation on social behaviour, the role of existential anxieties and cognitive biases in religious belief, the measurement of religious belief, and the philosophical relationship between naturalism and theism.

Yutaka Osakabe

School of Divinity, University of Aberdeen, UK

Yutaka is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related blog posts for the NSRN blog with a cross-cultural theme.

Yutaka is a PhD student in the school of Divinity, University of Aberdeen. Supervised by Dr. Christopher Brittain and Dr. Andrew McKinnon, his university-funded doctoral thesis seeks to understand how religious ideas of justice are shared with non-religious audiences and the public. Challenging ongoing methodological discussion between the two disciplines, the project involves qualitative analysis that links social movement theory and Christian theology, as it explores the nature of Christian social identity in the restorative justice movement. He has also engaged with the issue by examining the politics of religious minorities, specifically with the case of Japanese Christianity. These research endeavour to describe the tension between religious distinctiveness and nonreligious compatibility which these groups wrestle with, when they attempt to make an impact in political issues in this secular society.

Stefania Palmisano

University of Turin, Italy and Lancaster spalmisa.fotografiaUniversity, UK

Stefania provides editorial support and review editing services for the NSRN blog.

Stefania Palmisano is Lecturer in the Sociology of Organization at the University of Turin, Italy, where she teaches the Sociology of Religious Organizations. She is Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion in Lancaster University (UK). She also has been Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology in Boston University (USA). At the moment she is doing research on new monasticism and its relationship with monastic tradition. She is also editing a book in Italian on the study of relations between religion and economics. Recent publications include: Ambiguous Legitimation: Grassroots Roman Catholic Communities in Italy and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies (Temenos. Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion); New Monastic Organizations. Innovation, Recognition, Legitimation (Journal for the Study of New Religions); Catholicism and Spirituality in Italy, (Journal of Contemporary Religion).

Jesper Petersen

Religious Studies and Teacher Education, NTNU, Norway

Jesper is responsible for maintaining the NSRN’s dynamic directory of Resources for teachers and students of Nonreligion and Secularity. If you are aware of any omissions please do get in touch.

Jesper Petersen recently defended his PhD thesis on modern Satanism entitled ‘Between Darwin and the Devil: Modern Satanism as Discourse, Milieu, and Self’, putting a provisional end to years of studying religious and non-religious Satanists. He is currently an associate professor at the Programme for Teacher Education, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway, concentrating on social science and religious studies related to education, non-religion and alternative currents. He has published extensively on Satanism and controversial religions, but his research interests include religion and science, non-religion and secularity, religion and popular culture, and the interface between education, methodology and theory. For a list of publications, see Christin; for contact, see academia.edu.

Amanda Schutz

Sociology, University of Arizona, USAIMG_0143

Amanda is responsible for the publication of upcoming events to NSRN online, and the commissioning of event reports for the NSRN blog.

Amanda is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona. Her research is motivated by interests in identity, deviance, social movements, and organizations. She is currently developing an ethnographic study that will explore the place of godless congregations within the irreligious organizational field in the United States, and the benefits that this specific organizational structure provides its members that aren’t filled by other irreligious groups. To learn more about Amanda, visit her webpage at the UA School of Sociology.

Katherine Sissons

Anthropology, University of Oxford, UKKSissons photo

Katherine is responsible for the commissioning and publication of book reviews and media related posts for the NSRN blog.

Katherine is a doctoral student in the department of anthropology at the University of Oxford.  She is interested in the variety of lived experiences of non-religion in the UK.  Before starting her doctorate she lived for a while in Vanuatu and is still interested in religion and religious change in Melanesia.

Former Team Members

We are very grateful for the service of our former team members:

  • Anna Hennessey (Philosophy, California State University, Fresno, USA)
  • Bethany Tamara Heywood (Psychology, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK)
  • Per Smith (Religious Studies, Boston University, USA)

Page last updated: 12 April 2014

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