1 February 2021
Joanna is the Karl Jaspers Lecturer in Psychology and Spirituality at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and Oxford Diocesan Advisor for Spiritual Care for Older People. She studied experimental psychology and theology at Oxford University, and clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. She is a chartered clinical psychologist and specialist neuropsychologist, registered as a practitioner with the Health Professions Council.
Her interests are wide ranging, reflected in publications on cognitive behaviour therapy, brain and behaviour, natural theology, psychological approaches to the Bible, psychological trauma, the spirituality of children and people with special needs, and medical ethics. She is the author of many academic papers and several books including The Dawkins Delusion? (SPCK 2007 with Alister McGrath); Ethical practice in brain injury rehabilitation (OUP 2007); Jesus and the gospel women (2009 SPCK); and The psychology of Christian character formation (2015 SCM).
Usha is a PhD Candidate based at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. Before starting an MA in Practical Theology at the University of Chester, she had been involved in full time mission practice and training for over 25 years. She is an experienced missionary, who has worked across the world, including with migrant peoples throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Early in life Usha converted from Hinduism to Christianity, which has very much grounded her missionary and academic life ever since. Specialising in Anthropology, her focus now is on British Hindus who have converted to Christianity, their sense of identity, and their experiences of culture and religion. She has recently published a ground-breaking study: ‘Transcultural Insights into Christian Conversion of British Gujarati Hindus’ in the journal, ‘Studies in World Christianity: The Edinburgh Review of Theology and Religion’. She is also a part of the Centre for Missionaries from Majority World, a group of scholars from across the world who are interested in engaging with migrants of other faiths.
The psychology of religion: Experimenting with gods
Wk 3 MT: 22/10/2018
I’ll be speaking about how scientists study religion. I’ll give a quick history of the psychology of religion from the turn of the 20th century until the present day, and then turn my attention to the current major research programme that applies cognitive and evolutionary theories to explain religion. Then I’ll end by saying something about whether it’s possible to be religious and work on this stuff.