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Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Professor Douglas James Davies

Telephone: 0191 33 43943
Room number: 007 (Abbey House)

(email at douglas.davies@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

I am both an anthropologist and theologian with theoretical and practical interests. After an initial degree in Anthropology at Durham I engaged in my first research on Mormonism at the Oxford Institute of Social Anthropology under the supervision of the sociologist Bryan Wilson. I then read a theology degree at Durham and shortly afterwards became Lecturer at Nottingham University where I became Professor of Religious Studies before leaving for Durham in 1997. During that period I engaged in further work on Mormonism, as well as in Sikhism and Anglicanism, and in death rites. I also completed my first doctorate there on the issue of meaning and salvation. In Durham, as Professor in the Study of Religion, I help teach undergraduate modules on the Introduction to the Study of Religion, and Death, Ritual and Belief, and a module for postgraduates on Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion. Academically speaking, I also hold the degree of D.Litt. from Oxford as well as an Honorary Dr. Theol. from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. In 2009 I was made an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.

A great deal of my general work has sought to relate issues in theology and social (Anthropology and Theology, Berg, 2002). I then have several other areas of research interest. Special research in Mormonism has resulted in An Introduction to Mormonism, ( CUP. 2003) and The Mormon Culture of Salvation, (Ashgate. 2000) along with other books, chapters and encyclopaedia entries. I have also been a visiting professor at Brigham Young University in Utah. In terms of death Studies I have edited the Encyclopedia of Cremation, (with Lewis Mates: Ashgate, 2005), and also written A Brief History of Death, (Blackwell, 2004), Death, Ritual and Belief, (Revised and expanded edition, Continuum 2002). Extensive empirical research for Reusing Old Graves. (With A. Shaw. 1995) has been influential in relation to issues of burial reform in the UK. In terms of Christian church life I have, for example, joint edited ( with Helen Cameron, Philip Richter and Frances Ward) Studying Local Churches: A Handbook, ( SCM Press, 2005). My Private Passions, (Canterbury Press, 2000) was the Archbishop of Wales's Lent Book for that year. Church and Religion in Rural England. (With C. Watkins and M. Winter, 1991) involved a major study of the Church of England. Many other papers and book chapters numerous aspects of religious life including, for example, some biblical interests in, 'Purity, Spirit and Reciprocity in the Acts of the Apostles', in Anthropology and Biblical Studies, (eds) L.J.Lawrence and M.I. Aguilar, Leiden: Deo Publishing. 2004), and 'Rebounding Vitality: Resurrection and Spirit in Luke -Acts'. The Bible in Human Society. eds. M.D.Carroll, D.Clines and P. Davies. Sheffield Academic Press,1995.

Research Interests

  • Death, ritual and belief
  • Mormon religion
  • Sociology and anthropology of religion
  • Emotions and Religion

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

  • Davies, Douglas J. & Mates, Lewis H. (2005). Encyclopedia of Cremation. London: Ashgate.
  • Davies, D. J., Cameron, H., Richter, P. & Ward, F. (2005). Studying Local Churches: A Handbook. London: SCM Press.

Books: sections

  • Davies, Douglas J. (2010). Geographies of the Spirit World. In The Matter of Death, Space, Place and Materiality. Hockey, Jenny., Komaromy, Carol. & Woodthorpe, Kate. Basingstoke.: Palgrave Macmillan. 208 - 222.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2009). Baptism for the dead; Cremation: Cremation Movements. In Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Condition. Bryant, Clifton & Peck, Dennis L. Los Angeles: Sage. 98 -101, 232 - 237, 237 - 241.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2009). Christ in Mormonism. In Hammer, Olav. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 170 -189.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2009). Dying in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition. In The Study of Dying. Kellehear, Alan. Cambridge.: Cambridge University Press. 233 - 252.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2009). Superplausibility in Life and Death. In Religionssociologi i brytningstider. Bremborg, Anna Davidsson et al. Lund, Sweden: Lund University. 13 - 28.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2009). Visions, Revelations and Courage in Joseph Smith. In Joseph Smith Jnr. Reappraisals after Two Centuries. Nelson, Reid L. & Givens, Terryl L. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 129 - 142.
  • Davies, Douglas J. (2008). Resurrection and Immortality of the Soul. In Death our Future. Jupp, Peter C. London: Epworth. 82 - 92.

Edited works: contributions

  • Davies, D. J. (2008). Cultural Intensification: A Theory for religion. In Religion and the individual: belief, practice, identity. Day, Abby Aldershot: Ashgate. 7-18.
  • Davies, D. J. (2007). The invention of sacred tradition: Mormonism. In The Invention of Sacred Tradition. Lewis, J. R. & Hammer, O. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 56-75.
  • Davies, D. J. (2006). Inner Speech and Religious Traditions. In Theorizing Religion. Beckford, J. A. & Walliss, J. Aldershot: Ashgate. 211-223.
  • Davies, D. J. (2005). Forms of Disposal. In Death and Religion in a Changing World. Garces-Foley, K. New York: M. E. Sharpe. 228-245.
  • Davies, D. J. (2004). Priests, parish and people reconceiving a relationship. In Congregational studies in the UK Christianity in a post-Christian context. Guest, M., Tusting, K. & Woodhead, L. Aldershot: Ashgate. 153-168.
  • Davies, D. J. (2004). Time, Place and Mormon Sense of Self. In Religion, Identity and Change. Colemand, S. & Collins, P. Aldershot: Ashgate. 107-118.
  • Davies, D. J. (2001). Health morality and sacrifice the sociology of disasters. In The Blackwell companion to sociology of religion. Fenn, R. K. Oxford: Blackwell. 404-417.
  • Davies DJ (1995). 'Rebounding Vitality: Resurrection and Spirit in Luke-Acts'. The Bible in Human Society (eds) M.D. Carroll, D. Clines and P. Davies. In

Articles: magazine

Journal papers: academic

  • Davies, Douglas J. (2008). Death, Immortality, and Sir James Frazer. Mortality Vol. 13.(No, 3.): 287-296.
  • Davies, D. J. (2007). Mormon History, Text, Colour and Rites. Journal of Religious History 31(3): 305-315.

Edited works: conference proceedings

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • World perspectives & techniques: Death ritual and belief
  • Social sciences: Death ritual and belief
  • Sociology: Death ritual and belief
  • Health & welfare services: Death ritual and belief
  • Public policy, health and well-being: Death ritual and belief
  • History & Archaeology: Death ritual and belief
  • Religion: Death ritual and belief
  • Theology: Death ritual and belief
  • Health & Welfare: Death ritual and belief
  • Ethics, Religion & Beliefs: Death ritual and belief

Selected Grants

  • 2008: CREMATION IN SCOTLAND (£236428.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2008: EMOTION, IDENTITY & RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES (£25301.00 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 2007: GOLDERS GREEN FELLOWSHIP (£10000.00 from Golders Green Foundation)
  • 2007: GOLDERS GREEN STUDENT FELLOWSHIP (£4000.00 from Golders Green Foundation)
  • 2006: WAVE (£45566.00 from European Commission)
  • 2004: WELFARE AND RELIGION IN A EUROPEAN (£1000.00 from Diakonivetenskapliga Institutet)
  • 2003: RETRIEVING AND RE-CODING DATA FROM BASE HELD (£6188.00 from Esrc)
  • 2001: THE CLERGY AND BRITISH SOCIETY 1940-2000 (£135264.00 from Arts & Humanities Research Board)
  • 1997: GOLDERS GREEN FOUNDATION FUND (£47436.00 from Golders Green Foundation)
  • 1997: Religious Studies Research (£2080.00 from MISC Charities)

Supervises