I joined the RS team at the OU in 2003, having previously been Reader in Religious Studies at King Alfred's College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester).
I did my PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne under the supervision of Prof John F.A. Sawyer. This was about the rhetorics of group identity in ancient Jewish literatures (including the Qumran scrolls, apocryphal and apocalyptic texts, early Christian and formative rabbinic writings). Having been brought up relatively near Stonehenge I was invited to contribute a paper about contemporary Druids at a conference ... and so became a fieldwork researcher among Pagans. This has resulted in many publications, especially Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism (now in its second edition with Hurst and Co., and with New York University Press) and Researching Paganisms (2004).
An interest in religion, location and ecology fused with interests in the cultures of indigenous peoples to generate yet another shift in my research career. I have been privileged to spend time with various generous and interesting hosts, including in Aotearoa, Australia, Hawaii, Newfoundland, Nigeria, the Ojibwe traditional territories and Sápmi. Most of my research about contemporary indigenous religious traditions has been about “animism”: the varied ways in which people engage with the larger than human world. I have followed up my monograph, Animism: Respecting the Living World (2005), with the edited Handbook of Contemporary Animism (2013). Indigenous definitions of religion (e.g. the late Maori scholar, Te Pakaka Tawhai’s statement that the “purpose of religious activity … is doing violence with impunity”) play a vital role in my argument for a new definition and approach to religion in Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life (2013).
This research has inspired my teaching. I have contributed to the production and/or presentation of AA100 The Arts Past and Present, A151 Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture, A217 Introducing Religion, AA307 Religions in Conflict and Cooperation, AD317 Religion Today: Tradition, Modernity and Change, and A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds. I chair the dissertation year of the MA in Religious Studies, A881. Currently, I am writing units on “the new animism” and on “religion and individualism” for A332 Why is Religion Controversial? I have supervised 12 research students to the successful completion of their PhDs and examined 25 others (some internationally).
I am President of the British Association for the Study of Religions, following service as Secretary (2003-2009). I am a member of the ESRC peer review college and of the OU Senate.
Follow this link for my publications
(note: this will take you to my personal website where "home" means the index of that site not this one!)
See also Open Research Online for further details of Graham Harvey’s research publications.
I'm a member or officer of the following:
I'm external examiner at the Universities of Birmingham and Winchester.