The Blog Team

Dr. Lois Lee (Political Sciences, University College London)

Lois is the founding director of the NSRN, editor of NSRN Online, and executive editor of Nonreligion and Secularity.

Lois is Research Associate in the department of Political Sciences at UCL and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge. Her research centres of the production and exchange of knowledge and beliefs in differentiated modern societies, with recent research focusing on religion, nonreligion and secularity. She is the editor of the journal Secularism and Nonreligion, features editor of Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, and editor of the new book series, Religion and Its Others (RIO), published by De Gruyter. Her work on nonreligion and secularity has been published in the Journal of Contemporary, the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (2012), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (2013) and The Vocabulary for the Study of Religion (with Colin Campbell, forthcoming). Secularity and Non-religion, co-edited with Elisabeth Arweck and Stephen Bullivant (Routledge) will be published later this year.


Christopher R. Cotter (Religious Studies, Lancaster University)

Chris is an editor of NSRN Online and executive editor of Nonreligion and Secularity.

Chris is currently completing doctoral work in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. His theoretical work focuses upon the lived relationships between the concepts of ‘religion’, ‘non-religion’, and the ‘secular’, and his wider interests centre around New Religious Movements, qualitative methods, theories of religion, and Religious Studies as a discipline. Chris has published on contemporary atheism and non-religion, is co-founder and podcast co-host at The Religious Studies Project, and co-editor (with Abby Day and Giselle Vincett) of Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular (Ashgate, 2013). See his personal blog or page for a full CV.

Katie Aston (Anthropology, Goldsmiths University)katie

Katie  is the blog editor with responsibility for the day-to-day management of Nonreligion and Secularity.

In 2006 Katie completed her BA (hons) in fine at Wimbledon School of Art in 2006.  She went on to complete her Masters in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University, with a dissertation investigating gender performance within contemporary Stand Up comedy in London. Katie has just submitted her doctorate. This was an ethnographic study of non-religious value construction and material cultures under the supervision of Dr. Emma Tarlo and Dr. Mark Lamont at Goldsmiths University, London. She has also worked on the Moroccan Memories Oral History Project and in an educational and front of house capacity at the Tate Gallery in London. For more information about Katie visit her page or her university website.

Nathan Alexander (History, University of St. Andrews)400480_321189627925542_1317679353_n(1)

Nathan is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related blog posts with an historical theme.

Nathan Alexander is a PhD student in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. His dissertation examines the racial thought of British and American atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers from c. 1850 to 1914. He is also a co-founding director of the International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism. For more information about Nathan, visit his university website or page.

Janet Eccles (Independent Researcher)Janet Eccles

Janet is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related blog posts from a social scientific perspective.

Janet Eccles gained her PhD on Christian and disaffiliated women in 2010, as a mature student at Lancaster University UK, followed by a period as research associate on the Young Atheists Project. Now an independent researcher, she has published journal articles and/or book chapters on topics ranging from Christian women affiliates and disaffiliates and forms of non-religion to multi-faith chaplaincy, Anglican monasticism and insider/outsider issues.  She is also part-time adult education tutor in Religious Studies in Cumbria.

Yutaka Osakabe  (Divinity, University of Aberdeen)

Yutaka is responsible for the commissioning and publication of research-related blog posts with a cross-cultural theme.

Yutaka is a PhD student in the Department of Divinity, University of Aberdeen. His thesis seeks to understand how Christian groups in the UK attempt to promote their normative claims in the public sphere by examining the case of restorative justice. He focuses on how they negotiate their values and ideas in response to how they look at the secular today. He has also been undertaking the case of Japanese Evangelical churches in a post-Fukushima society to analyse the ways in which their values and ideas are negotiated. His recent interest includes the sacred form in the nonreligious and secular understandings of criminal justice concepts, especially in the UK and Japan.

Stefania Palmisano (University of Turin and Lancaster spalmisa.fotografiaUniversity)

Stefania provides editorial support and review editing services for the blog.

Stefania Palmisano is Lecturer in the Sociology of Organization at the University of Turin, Italy, where she teaches the Sociology of Religious Organizations. She is Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion in Lancaster University (UK). She also has been Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology in Boston University (USA). At the moment she is doing research on new monasticism and its relationship with monastic tradition. She is also editing a book in Italian on the study of relations between religion and economics. Recent publications include: Ambiguous Legitimation: Grassroots Roman Catholic Communities in Italy and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies (Temenos. Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion); New Monastic Organizations. Innovation, Recognition, Legitimation (Journal for the Study of New Religions); Catholicism and Spirituality in Italy, (Journal of Contemporary Religion).

Amanda Schutz (Sociology, University of Arizona)IMG_0143

Amanda is responsible for the publication of upcoming events to NSRN online, and the commisioning of event reports for the blog.

Amanda is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona. Her research is motivated by interests in identity, deviance, social movements, and organizations. She is currently developing an ethnographic study that will explore the place of godless congregations within the irreligious organizational field in the United States, and the benefits that this specific organizational structure provides its members that aren’t filled by other irreligious groups. To learn more about Amanda, visit her webpage at the UA School of Sociology.

Katherine Sissons (Anthropology, University of Oxford)KSissons photo

Katherine is responsible for the commissioning and publication of book reviews and media related blog posts.

Katherine is a doctoral student in the department of anthropology at the University of Oxford.  She is interested in the variety of lived experiences of non-religion in the UK.  Before starting her doctorate she lived for a while in Vanuatu and is still interested in religion and religious change in Melanesia.

Former Team Members

We are very grateful for the service of our former team members:

  • Anna Hennessey (Philosophy, California State University, Fresno, USA)
  • Bethany Tamara Heywood (Psychology, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK)
  • Per Smith (Religious Studies, Boston University, USA)