Dr Caroline Starkey

Dr Caroline Starkey

Teaching Fellow

+44 (0)113 3437454

Summary: Caroline is a Teaching Fellow and joined the School in 2015. She is a sociologist of religion whose research is concerned with religion in contemporary Britain, particularly Buddhism.

Location: 3.09 Botany House

Teaching Commitments: THEO2251 Sociology of Religion, THEO2720 Religion, Gender and Society THEO1960 Religion in Modern Britain THEO2300 Religion in Context PRHS3700 External Placement THEO5325M Research Methods THEO5100 M Contemporary Issues in Religion and Gender


I am a sociologist of religion, with a particular interest in the various ways in which religion is experienced in contemporary Britain.

My current research has two principal strands. The first, an interest in the establishment, development and adaptation of religions of Asian origin within the British Isles, particularly Buddhism and Jainism.  I have researched, and published on, gender and ordination issues in contemporary British Buddhism (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Spalding Trust) and am particularly interested in the narratives of 'Westerners' who convert to Buddhism and what this tells us about religious belonging in contemporary Britain. My most recent research has been a sociological analysis of minority religious spaces in Britain. With Professor Emma Tomalin, I conducted the first national survey of Buddhist and Jain buildings in England (as part of a larger research project, funded by Historic England with Professor Emma Tomalin which also now includes work with the Warsi Foundation on Modern Places of Worship) and I continue to enjoy piecing together the rich and varied histories of minority faith communities through their built landscapes. 

In the second strand of my research, I investigate the relationship between religion, health and social welfare in Britain. I have been engaged on several research projects, including an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship (2016), which look at the tensions and opportunities for statutory and voluntary, community and faith sector bodies in working more closely together to deliver social welfare objectives, particularly in times of austerity. I remain especially interested in the role of religion in social work practice as, prior to completing my PhD, I was a social worker in statutory and voluntary settings. 

Following two years as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Religion and Public Life, I am now a Teaching Fellow in the School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science and I am committed to research-led teaching. I lead on the following modules for 17/18: Sociology of Religion, Religion in Modern Britain, Religion in Context, Religion, Gender and Society (UG and MA), Research Processes and Methods (MA). I am also the academic lead on the External Placement Module and support our Industrial Year students. 

Alongside my research, I have been part of the AHRC Research Careers and Training Advisory Group (2013-2015) and am also the treasurer of the UK Association of Buddhist Studies (UKABS).  I am a member of the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Sub-Group (SOCREL).