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Dr Chris Cotter

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Religious Studies scholar by training and joined The Open University in January 2022 as Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Sociology and Religious Studies.

I am author of The Critical Study of Non-religion: Discourse, Identification and Locality (Bloomsbury, 2020) and co-editor of Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular (Ashgate, 2013), After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies (Routledge, 2016), and New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates (Springer, 2017). I am also co-editor of the open-access journal Secularism & Nonreligion.

I completed my doctorate in Religious Studies at Lancaster University in 2016. My thesis focused upon the discourses on ‘religion’ in the Southside of Edinburgh, the concepts of ‘non-religion’ and ‘the secular’, and the ensuing critical and theoretical implications for Religious Studies. My previous degrees at the University of Edinburgh focused upon ‘New Atheism’ and alternative typologies of ‘non-religion’. My wider interests include New Religious Movements, qualitative methods, discourse analysis, spatial approaches, critical theory, and Religious Studies as a discipline. After these periods of study, I was Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2017-2020), Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Chester (2020-2021), IASH-CTPI Duncan Forrester Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh (2020-2021), and Teaching Fellow in Anthropology and Sociology of Religions at the University of Edinburgh (2021). 

I am also co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the The Religious Studies Project podcast, Honorary Treasurer of the British Association for the Study of Religions and an advisory board member the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network. See my personal blog for a full CV.

Publications 

Monograph

  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2020. The Critical Study of Non-Religion: Discourse, Identification and Locality. London: Bloomsbury.

Edited Volumes

  • Cotter, Christopher R., Philip Quadrio, and Jonathan Tuckett, eds. 2017. New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. and David G. Robertson, eds. 2016. After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies. London: Routledge.
  • Day, Abby, Giselle Vincett and Christopher R. Cotter, eds. 2013. Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular. Farnham: Ashgate.

Chapters and Articles

  • Cotter, Christopher R. Forthcoming 2022. “New Atheism”, “The difference between atheism, agnosticism, non-religion and the secular”, and “Who are the most famous atheists?” in Atheism in Five Minutes, edited by Teemu Taira. Sheffield: Equinox
  • Cotter, Christopher R. Forthcoming 2023. “Because YOU’RE an Early Adopter” in Fabricating Authenticity, edited by Andie Alexander and Jason M. Ellsworth. Sheffield: Equinox.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. Forthcoming 2022. “Non-Religion as Religion-Related Discourse: An Empirical Invitation.” In Formatting Non-Religion in Late Modern Societies, edited by Anne-Laure Zwilling and Helge Arsheim. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2021. “New Atheism” in The Cambridge History of Atheism, edited by Michael Ruse and Stephen Bullivant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1007–1023.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2020. “The Good, The Bad, and the Non-Religion: The Good/Bad Rhetoric in Non-Religion Studies” in Hijacked: A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion, edited by Leslie Dorrough Smith, Steffen Führding, and Adrian Hermann. Sheffield: Equinox, 154–168.
  • Cotter, Christopher R., and Lois Lee. 2020. Entries on “Agnosticism”, “Atheism” and “Secularization.” in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Sociology of Religion, edited by Adam Possamai and Anthony Joseph Blasi. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Cotter, Christopher R., and David G. Robertson. 2020. “Critique and Community: Podcasting Religious Studies.” In Digital Humanities and Research Methods in Religious Studies: An Introduction, edited by Christopher Cantwell and Kristian Petersen. Boston: De Gruyter, 273–290.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2019. “Incorporating Secularism and Related Constructs within the Critical Study of Religion.” Implicit Religion. 22 (1): 78–85.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2018. “A History of the BASR: Some Preliminary Findings.” BASR Bulletin 132 (May): 12–16. https://basr.ac.uk/2018/05/22/basr-bulletin-132-may-2018/
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2017. “You’re Greek? Well… I’m (Northern) Irish, Kind’a. In Fabricating Identities, edited by Russell T. McCutcheon. Sheffield: Equinox.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2017. “New Atheism, Open-Mindedness, and Critical Thinking.” In New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates, edited by Christopher R. Cotter, Philip Quadrio and Jonathan Tuckett. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Cotter, Christopher R., Philip Quadrio and Jonathan Tuckett. 2017. “Introduction.” In New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates, edited by Christopher R. Cotter, Philip Quadrio and Jonathan Tuckett. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2017. “A Discursive Approach to ‘Religious Indifference’: Critical Reflections from Edinburgh’s Southside.” In Religious Indifferences: New Perspectives from Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion, edited by Johannes Quack and Cora Schuh. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Cotter, Christopher R , Grace Davie, James A. Beckford, Saliha Chattoo, Mia Lövheim, Manuel A. Vásquez, and Abby Day. 2016. “Around Abby Day’s Believing in Belonging: Belief & Social identity in the Modern World.” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 7:97–115.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. and David G. Robertson. 2016.  “Introduction: The ‘World Religions’ Paradigm in Contemporary Religious Studies.” In After ‘World Religions’: Reconstructing Religious Studies, edited by Christopher R. Cotter and David G. Robertson. London: Routledge. 1–26.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2015. “Without God yet not Without Nuance: A Qualitative Study of Atheism and Non-religion among Scottish University Students.” In Atheist Identities: Spaces and Social Contexts, edited by Lori G. Beaman and Steven Tomlins. Dordrecht: Springer, 171–193.
  • Lee, Lois, with Stephen Bullivant and Christopher R. Cotter. 2013. “Irreligion: A Contemporary Bibliography.” In Toward a Sociology of Irreligion, by Colin Campbell. Alcuin Academics.
  • Day, Abby, Giselle Vincett and Christopher R. Cotter. 2013. “What Lies Between: Exploring the Depths of Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular.” In Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular, edited by Abby Day, Giselle Vincett and Christopher R. Cotter, 1–6. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Cotter, Christopher R. 2011. “Consciousness Raising: The critique, agenda, and inherent precariousness of contemporary Anglophone atheism.” International Journal for the Study of New Religions 2 (1): 77–103.