2019 has been quite the busy year! First things first, however, my blog post for this month can be found over on the Open University’s Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective Blog, in which I reflect on Louis Theroux’s latest documentary with the Westboro Baptist Church the impact of Fred Phelps’ death. So do go and check it out!
As for 2019, the big news for me is completing my PhD! It was the end of an incredible journey, and I’m excited to be moving on to new areas of research. Once again, it’s worth noting that I am indebted to my supervisors, Marion Bowman and Paul-François Tremlett, who are both outstanding scholars and people. And, of course, the journey wouldn’t have been possible without my family and friends – especially Victoria, who supported me every step of the way. I also published a few pieces this year, including a chapter for The Insider/Outsider Debate: New Perspectives in the Study of Religions, which examines relational identities across Scientologies, and challenges institutional notions of ‘who Scientologists are’, and presented a paper at this year’s British Association for the Study of Religions annual conference.
2020 promises to be even busier. Beyond my new plans for this blog (stay tuned!), I’m in the process of turning my thesis into a monograph (the proposal is with the series editors!) and have plans to present at several conferences. I’m already confirmed to be presenting at February’s INFORM Seminar, and April’s British Sociological Association conference – maybe I’ll see you there?
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to unwinding over the winter break and hope that my friends and colleagues are too. Self-care is important, and it can be easy to forget that under the pressures of academia. Those papers will still be there in January!
See you all in 2020!