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How have religious faith and experience motivated people in the past, and how do they continue to influence people today?
Our work emphasizes the variety and diversity of religious expressions, including the Protestant and Catholic divisions in post-Reformation Christianity, the relationship between religion, the state and politics, new religious movements and the philosophical basis for faith and religion.
The Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History holds major archives and art collections, produces a journal, Wesley and Methodist Studies, and hosts regular conferences.
Our academic staff have published very widely on topics such as sacred space, witchcraft in the early modern period, religion and the state in the eighteenth century, Methodism in the eighteenth century, theological responses to Nazism, religion and psychoanalysis, the material and visual cultures of religion, blasphemy, and secularism.
Current research projects include the eighteenth century church and sex, the religious culture of Europe in the seventeenth century, and Freud and feminism.
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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483584`
David Nash was previously at the Universities of Leicester and York where he taught primarily 19th and twentieth century British History. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an officer of the Social History Society of Great Britain.
David is a Director of the SOLON project which links a number of University Departments in studying the interdisciplinary dimensions of crime and bad behaviour from both contemporary and historical perspectives. He is also a Director of the Center for Inquiry (London).
Radicalism in Britain, blasphemy, the history of religion and the cultural history of law and crime.
Blasphemy, history of shame, blame and culpability, links between religion and crime, history of secularisation, history of radicalism and the affinities all these have with cultural history.
Completing monograph (with Anne-Marie Kilday) 'Shame and Modernity' for Palgrave Publishing
Also researching for a project on the relationship between Religion and Law since 1600 and an extension of the 'Stories of Belief' project to now include secular stories of unbelief.
This monograph traces the use, abuse and negotiation of the concept of shame from 1600-1900. The book shows good and bad behaviour, morality and perceptions of crime in British society at large, and identifies the changing interaction between popular and official notions of shame. Each of the chapters is a single episode in the ongoing history of shame contextualized by two chapters which discuss the historiography and theory of shame and their implications for the history of crime and social relations. The wide acceptance and utility of shame, as the early episodes in the book suggest, became manifestly less obvious during the eighteenth century. The traditional uses and functions of shame were questioned, yet the growth of the public sphere allowed some of its messages to become recast in modern forms. The last examples in the book demonstrate shame's longevity and relevance beyond the arrival of modernity.
Providing a rounded and coherent history of crime and the law spanning the past 400 years, Histories of Crime explores the evolution of attitudes towards crime and criminality over time. Bringing together contributions from internationally acknowledged experts, the book highlights themes, current issues and key debates in the history of deviance and bad behaviour, including:marital cruelty and adultery, infanticide, murder. the underworld, blasphemy and moral crimes, fraud and white-collar crime, the death penalty and punishment. Individual case studies of violent and non-violent crime are used to explore the human means and motives behind criminal practice. Through these, the book illuminates society's wider attitudes and fears about criminal behaviour and the way in which these influence the law and legal system over time. This fascinating book is essential reading for students and teachers of history, sociology and criminology, as well as anyone interested in Britain's criminal past.
This article provides a survey of the growth and development of historiography about both Secularism and the wider secular movement since the onset of the nineteenth century. It analyses and highlights the main themes and their advocates as well as suggesting what historiographical developments we might be likely to see in the future.
This article examines the new offence of inciting religious hatred under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. A historical analysis of existing provisions aimed at legislating against racial hatred and blasphemy is adopted, in order to determine whether the creation of this new offence is justified and necessary. We conclude that although the new offence may fulfil an important symbolic role in a post September 11th environment, in its current form the legislation has not taken sufficient account of the precedent of racial hatred and blasphemy laws, or of more general questions about the criminalisation of hatred.
Consultancy to the National Secular Society regarding repeal of the blasphemy laws in Britain. Also consultancy with the National Secualr Society regarding the administration of religious oaths in parliamentary democracies. In 2003 gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences.