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Dr Stefanie Sinclair

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Religious Studies
  • stefanie.sinclair

Professional biography

I studied Protestant Theology and English Language and Literature at Heidelberg University in Germany and got ‘hooked’ on Religious Studies when I spent a semester as a visiting student at the University of Stirling. I completed my post-graduate studies, including an MA in 'Religion, Culture and Society' and a PhD in Religious Studies, at Lancaster University. I joined the Open University's Arts Faculty as a lecturer in Religious Studies at Walton Hall in 2009, but can also draw on 16 years of experience of working as an Associate Lecturer in the North West pf England. Previous employment include my role as Research Associate at the Department of Applied Social Science at Lancaster University. I have also been a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Turin, Italy. 

Together with my colleague Graham Harvey, I have acted as academic consultant on the BBC/ OU co-produced TV series ‘Divine Women’, first broadcast on BBC 2 in April 2012. I am also book reviews editor of the journal Culture and Religion.



Tel: 01908 654710



Research interests

I have a special research interest in the relationship between religion and identity (gender and national identities in particular).

Current research interests include

  • Religion and gender
  • Religion, politics and national identity (part. in Germany and the UK)
  • Religion and education
  • Religion and social history
  • Contemporary Jewish and Muslim identities in Germany and Britain from a historical perspective
  • Gender, place and leadership in religious communities
  • ‘Blended tuition’, widening participation, creativity and assessment in higher education


Teaching interests

Currently I am Module Team Chair of AA100' The Arts Past and Present' and deputy chair of A332 'Why is religion controversial?'. I am also involved in the production of the new Level 1 module A111 'Discovering the Arts Past and Present'.

Throughout my career at the OU, I have been involved in the maintenance and development of a wide range of other modules, including Y031, the Arts and Languages Access Module, A217 ‘Introducing Religions’, A332 ‘Why is religion controversial?’, A880 and A881 (Parts 1 and 2 of the MA in Religious Studies). As an Associate lecturer for the Open University I tutored AA100 ‘The Arts Past and Present’, DD100 ‘An Introduction to the Social Sciences’, AD317 ‘Religion Today’, A332 'Why is religion controversial?' and the MA in Religious Studies. 

Together with Lynda Prescott, George Callaghan and Alison Kirkbright, I've been co-organising the OU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' Scholarhip Seminar series in 2017. This year this series focuses on the theme 'Creativity and critique in online learning'.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and was awarded the 2017 Teaching and Learning Fellowship by the British Association of the Study of Religions (BASR) in recognition of my contribution to the innovation and transformation of the student learning experience in the study of religions. I have been involved in the following teaching scholarship projects:

1) ‘Assessing oral presentations in distance learning’ (funded by a HEA Individual Teaching Development Grant)

2) 'Reflective Assessment Tasks in Access Modules’ (co-led with John Butcher, Dep. Director Access and Curriculum, Centre for Inclusion and Curriculum Partnerships, and funded by the New Models of Assessment and Tuition Scholarship Fund)

3) ‘The language of assessment: exploring best practice on Access courses to prepare tentative learners to succeed’ (with CICP and all Access chairs, funded by the OU Assessment Programme Scholarship fund)

4) Current/ ongoing: 'Creativity, criticality and engaging the senses in higher education': using the OpenStudio Platform and digital photography (co-led with John Maiden)




Academic journal articles:

Sinclair, S. (2016) ‘The introduction and refinement of the assessment of digitally recorded oral presentations’, Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 31 (2), Special issue on Assessment in Open, Distance and e-Learning: Lessons from Practice, pp. 163-175. DOI 10.1080/02680513.2016.1190640 .

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Digital Literacy in Religious Studies’ in DISKUS: The Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR), Vol. 14,Special Teaching and Learning Edition, pp. 37-54, [Online] Available from

Sinclair. S. (2013) ‘More than just a piece of cloth: The German ‘headscarf’ debate’, Implicit Religion, Vol. 16 (4), Special Issue on ‘Veiling’, pp. 483-491.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Regina Jonas: Forgetting and Remembering the first female rabbi’, Religion, Vol. 43 (4), pp. 541-563.

Sinclair, S. (2012) ‘National identity and the politics of the ‘headscarf debate’ in Germany’, Culture and Religion, Vol. 13 (1), pp. 19-39.

Sinclair, S. (2011), ‘Blended Learning and Tuition in Religious Studies: An Open University Perspective’, Discourse, Vol. 10 (3), [Online] Available from


Chapters in edited volumes:

Butcher, John, Sinclair, Stefanie and Clarke, Anactoria (2015) 'The challenge of assessing reflection: The Open University's Access programme', in Wendy Miller, Jane Collings and Pauline Kneale (eds.) Inclusive Assessment, PedRIO Paper 7, Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO), Plymouth, pp. 25-29. Available from:

Sinclair, Stefanie (2014) ‘Assessing oral presentations in open and distance learning’, in Challenges for Research into Open & Distance Learning: Doing things better – doing better things, A. M. Teixera and A. Szűcs (eds.), European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN), Oxford, pp.  203-212. ISBN 978-615-5511-00-4


OU module materials:

Sinclair, S. (2017) 'Exploring mosques' in A227 Exploring Religion: Places, John Wolffe (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open Unviersity, pp. 57-106.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Remembering the first female rabbi: Regina Jonas’ in A332 Why is Religion Controversial? Controversial Figures, Edwina Newman (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 47-97.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Veiling’ in A332 Why Is Religion Controversial? Controversial Practices, Hugh Beattie (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 47-89.

Sinclair, S. (2013) 'Mystery Zebras in Hackney' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Sinclair, S. with Marion Bowman (2013) 'Shiva as Nataraja in the St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Sinclair, S. with contributions from Marion Bowman (2006) A217 Introducing Religions: Christianity, Milton Keynes: The Open University, 178pp.

Perryman, L.-A. with A. Duensing and S. Sinclair (2013) 'Picasso's Guernica' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.


Book reviews:

Sinclair, Stefanie (2012) ‘John R. Bowen. Blaming Islam. Cambridge, Mass./ London, MIT Press, 2012’ in Culture and Religion Vol. 13 (4), pp. 495-497.

Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) ‘Leila Ahmed.  A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence from the Middle East to America, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2011’ in Culture and Religion Vol. 12 (4), pp. 501-503.

Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) ‘L. Woodhead, H. Kawanami and C. Partridge (eds.) Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations, 2nd ed., London and New York, Routledge, 2009’ in Culture and Religion, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 107-109.

Lotz , Stefanie (2000), ‘Gregg Kvistad, The Rise and Demise of German Statism: Loyalty and Political membership, Berghahn Books, New York/ Oxford, 1999’, in  European History Quarterly, Vol. 30 (2), pp. 273-276


Project reports:

Sinclair, Stefanie    with L. Clennell, J. Heap, J. Wiggans, J. Austin, M. Lancaster and S. Brierley (2003) The Open Event as a Conversion Tool for New Enquirers, Manchester: The Open University in the North West.

Simmill-Binning, Cheryl, Pearson, J. and Sinclair, S. (2011) Evaluation of the North West Regional PREVENT Education Team Schools Resources Pack, Lancaster University and University of Central Lancashire.

Wilson, Alison and Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) Confidential Inquiry into Drug-Related Deaths in Lancashire 2009/10, Lancaster University, Applied Social Science Unit for Research and Evaluation (ASSURE).



Sinclair, S. (2014) 'OpenLearn: Visions of protest: Graffiti', The Open University [Online] Available at: .

Sinclair, S. (2013) 'OpenLearn: Veiling', The Open University [Online] Available at:

Sinclair, S. (2012) ‘OpenLearn: What’s the big deal about virginity?’, The Open University. [Online] Available at:

Sinclair, S. and Harvey, G. (2012) Divine Women, The Open University. (Print item associated with the BBC/OU co-produced TV series ‘Divine Women’).

The Open University (2013) ‘Regina Jonas: the first female rabbi’ iTunesU collection (also available on Open Learn from

The Open University (2013) ‘Veiling: Tradition, Identity and Fashion’ iTunesU collection (also available on OpenLearn from

See Open Research Online for further details of Stefanie Sinclair’s research publications.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Cross-Cultural Identities Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts


The introduction and refinement of the assessment of digitally recorded audio presentations (2016)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 31(2) (pp. 163-175)
More than just a piece of cloth: the German ‘headscarf’ debate (2013-12)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Implicit Religion, 16(4) (pp. 483-491)
Regina Jonas: forgetting and remembering the first female rabbi (2013)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Religion, 43(4) (pp. 541-563)
Digital literacy in religious studies (2013)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Diskus: The Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR), 14 (pp. 37-54)
National identity and the politics of the ‘headscarf debate’ in Germany (2012-03)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Culture and Religion, 13(1) (pp. 19-39)
Blended Learning and Tuition in Religious Studies: An Open University Perspective (2011-10)
Sinclair, Stefanie
Discourse, 10(3)
Gregg Kvistad (1999) The Rise and Demise of German Statism: Loyalty and Political membership (2000-04)
Sinclair, Stefanie
European History Quarterly, 30(2) (pp. 273-276)
Christianity: Study Guide (2006)
Sinclair, Stefanie and Bowman, Marion
ISBN : 9780749296353 | Publisher : Open University | Published : Milton Keynes, U.K.
Creativity, Criticality and Engaging the Senses in Higher Education: Creating Online Opportunities for Multisensory Learning and Assessment (2018-06-13)
Sinclair, Stefanie
In: Baxter, Jacqueline; Callaghan, George and McAvoy, Jean eds. Creativity & Critique in Online Learning: Exploring and Examining Innovations in Online Pedagogy. (pp. 103-122)
ISBN : 978-3-319-78297-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan, Cham | Published : UK
The Challenge of Assessing Reflection: The Open University's Access Programme (2015)
Butcher, John; Sinclair, Stefanie and Clarke, Anactoria
In: Miller, Wendy; Collings, Jane and Kneale, Pauline eds. Inclusive Assessment. PedRIO Papers (7) (pp. 25-29)
Publisher : Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO) | Published : Plymouth University
Assessing oral presentations in open and distance learning (2014-10)
Sinclair, Stefanie
In: Teixera, A. M. and Szűcs, A. eds. Challenges for Research into Open & Distance Learning: Doing Things Better – Doing Better Things (pp. 203-212)
ISBN : 9786155511004 | Publisher : European Distance and E-Learning Network

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