Marion Irene Bowman
Working at the interstices of religious studies and folklore/ ethnology, my research interests are rooted in contemporary vernacular religion - religion as it is lived; the experiences, worldviews, beliefs, practices and material culture of individuals and groups in in specific locations and contexts. I have championed the study of both vernacular religion and material religion within UK Religious Studies.
My research has tended to be fieldwork-based, with people inside, on the margins of and outside institutional religion, and my research interests include: Protestant and non-traditional pilgrimage; material religion; spiritual economies; religion in public and private domains; airport chapels; the creation, adaptation and revival of myth, ritual and tradition in contemporary religiosity; religion and healing; new expressions of mourning and memorialisation; religion in Newfoundland. I have conducted long term research in Glastonbury, a significant pilgrimage destination and microcosm of contemporary spirituality and vernacular religiosity.
Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Glamorgan, 1998
M.A. Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, 1985
B.A. with Honours, Religious Studies with Anthropology, University of Lancaster, 1976
- I am a Senior Lecturer in the Religious Studies department at The Open University, UK. I moved there in 2000 after working for ten years in the Study of Religions department at Bath Spa University.
- I worked previously as an archivist in Canada, the UK and Bahrain, and also taught English for Academic Purposes while living in Bahrain and Hong Kong.
European Association for the Study of Religions - Vice-President, 2013 –
British Association for the Study of Religions – President (2006 - 2009);
Executive Committee Member/ Conference Organiser (2001-06)
The Folklore Society – President, 2002- 2005; Vice-President, 2005 – 2011); Director, 2002- 2016; Executive Board, 2016 -
SIEF (Societe Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore), Working Group on Ethnology of Religion – Executive Board member, 2010 -
Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Theology and Religious Studies Subject Undergraduate Benchmarking Group - Chair 2013-14
TRS UK (Theology and Religious Studies UK; formerly AUDTRS: Association of University Departments of Theology and Religious Studies) – Board member AUDTRS 2009-2013, TRS UK 2013 –
Co-I, Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals, Past and Present, 2014-17: http://www.pilgrimageandcathedrals.ac.uk/about
Post-secular culture and a changing religious landscape in Finland project, Abo Akademi, Finland - International Scientific Advisory Board Member, 2010- 2015
Religion, Martyrdom and Global Uncertainties - Advisory Group 2013-2014. http://www.open.ac.uk/arts/research/religion-martyrdom-global-uncertainties/
Spirited Stoke: Spiritualism in the Everyday Life of Stoke-on-Trent (SpELS) - Advisory Group, 2014-2016.