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Profile summary

  • Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Religious Studies
  • marion.bowman

Professional biography

I joined the Religious Studies department at The Open University in 2000, having worked for ten years in the Study of Religions department at Bath Spa University. (I had worked previously as an archivist in Canada, UK and Bahrain, and also taught English for Academic Purposes while living in Bahrain and Hong Kong.) 

I am currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals, Past and Present: http://www.pilgrimageandcathedrals.ac.uk/about 

I have had the great pleasure of spending varying periods of time as a visiting lecturer at the University of Tartu, Estonia (2014), University of Bayreuth, Germany (2009), University of Pecs, Hungary (2007), Abo Akademi, Finland (2006) and University of Bergen, Norway (2002).

I am Vice-President of the European Association for the Study of Religions and former president of both the British Association for the Study of Religions and of The Folklore Society, of which I remain a Director. I am on the Executive Board of the Working Group on Ethnology of Religion of SIEF (Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore). I chaired the review group for the QAA subject benchmark statement for theology and religious studies and serve on the executive of Theology and Religious Studies UK.

Research interests

  As an undergraduate, I started by studying Archaeology, Medieval History and Drama at the University of Glasgow, but in my second year took Principles of Religion. I became totally hooked on the study of religions, and transferred to Lancaster University to specialise in Religious Studies! A studentship enabled me to spend two years at Memorial University of Newfoundland studying for the MA in Folklore. 

Working at the interstices of religious studies and folklore/ ethnology, my research interests are very much rooted in contemporary vernacular religion - religion as it is lived; the experiences, worldviews, beliefs, practices and material culture of individuals and groups in in specific locations and contexts. The extent to which vernacular religion is conceptually valuable was demonstrated by the range of chapters in and positive response to Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life: Expressions of Belief. (New York & London: Routledge 2012), co-edited with Ulo Valk.

My research tends to be fieldwork-based, with people within, on the margins of and outside institutional religion. I have conducted long term research in Glastonbury, a significant pilgrimage destination and microcosm of contemporary spirituality and vernacular religiosity. Other research interests include pilgrimage; spiritual economies; airport chapels; contemporary Celtic spirituality; the creation, adaptation and revival of myth, ritual and tradition; religion and healing; religion in Newfoundland; methodology.

 

Societies

 European Association for the Study of Religions - Vice-President, 2013 -

British Association for the Study of Religions – President (2006-2009); Conference Organiser, 2001-06.

The Folklore Society – President, 2002- 2005; Vice-President, 2005 - 2011, Director, 2002-

SIEF (Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore); member of the Executive Board of the SIEF Working Group on Ethnology of Religion (2010 - ); SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year; SIEF Working Group on Cultural Heritage and Property.

Theology and Religious Studies UK - formerly The Association of University Departments of Theology and Religious Studies (AUDTRS).  Committee Member AUDTRS, 2009-2013; TRS UK, 2013 - 

British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group http://socrel.org.uk/

Life Member, Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society http://www.crmsociety.com/

 

Publications include

Bowman, M. and Valk, Ü. eds. Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life: Expressions of Belief. (New York & London: Routledge 2012).

‘”He’s My Best Friend” Relationality, Materiality, and the Manipulation of Motherhood in Devotion to St Gerard Majella in Newfoundland’ in Terry Woo & Becky Lee, eds. Canadian Women Shaping Diasporic Religious Identities (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016), 3-34.

‘Christianity, Plurality and Vernacular Religion in early Twentieth Century Glastonbury: A Sign of Things to Come?’  in Christianity and Religious Plurality Studies in Church History 51 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2015), 302-321.

‘“Helping Glastonbury to Come into Its Own”: Practical Spirituality, Materiality, and Community Cohesion in Glastonbury’ in  Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age, edited by Curtis C Coats and Monica M Emerich  (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 51-65.

Vernacular Religion, Contemporary Spirituality and Emergent Identities: Lessons from Lauri Honko. Approaching Religion, 4, 2014.  <http://ojs.abo.fi/index.php/ar/article/view/783/835>.

‘Vernacular/ Lived Religion’ in The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, George D. Chryssides and Benjamin E. Zeller, eds. London, New Delhi, etc.: Bloomsbury. 2014, pp. 253-269.

‘Valuing Spirituality: Commodification, Consumption and Community in Glastonbury’ in Religion in Consumer Society: brands, consumers and markets, Francois Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen, eds. Farnham and Burlington, VA: Ashgate. 2013, pp. 207-224.

 ‘Raising the Dead: Revisiting Letters to Diana’ Acta Ethnographica Hungarica. 2013, 58 (1): 221-228.

‘From sanctity to celebrity? Relics in contemporary contexts’, in Tremlett, P.-F. (ed.) Afterlives (A151 Book 3) Milton Keynes: The Open University, 2012, pp.1-54. 

‘Folklore, Religion and Contemporary Spirituality’ Introduction to Virtual Special Issue of Folkore, Folklore, Religion and Contemporary Spirituality 2011.

‘Understanding Glastonbury as a Site of Consumption’ in Gordon Lynch, Jolyon Mitchell, Anna Strhan (eds.), Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. London: Routledge. 2011, pp.11-22

'Learning from experience: The value of analysing Avalon. Religion, 2009 39(2), pp. 161–168.

Glastonbury festival and the performance of remembrance’. DISKUS, 10.

‘From Glastonbury to Hungary: Contemporary Integrative Spirituality and Vernacular Religion in Context’ in Passageways. From Hungarian Ethnography to European Ethnology and Sociocultural Anthropology. Gábor Vargyas, ed.  Department of European Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, The University of Pécs - L’Harmattan Publishing House, Budapest, 2009. pp.195-221

‘Glastonburytől  Magyarországig. Kortárs integratív spiritualitás és vernakuláris vallás’ in Átjárók. A magyar néprajztól az európai etnológiáig és a kulturális antropológiáig. Szerkesztette) Vargyas Gábor. L'Harmattan - Pécsi Tudományegyetem Néprajz - Kulturális Antropológia Tanszék, 2009 pp. 181-208.

‘Going with the Flow: Contemporary Pilgrimage in Glastonbury’ in Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred Peter Jan Margy, ed. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008, pp. 241-280.

Arthur and Bridget in Avalon: Celtic Myth, Vernacular Religion and Contemporary Spirituality in Glastonbury Fabula, Journal of Folktale Studies, 48 (1/2) 2007: 1-17

‘A tale of two Celticities: sacred springs, legendary landscape and Celtic revival in Bath’ Australian Religious Studies Review, Special Issue on "Tradition as a Resource: Invention, Innovation, Inheritance", ed. Michael Hill, 20 (1), 2007: 95-117

‘The Holy Thorn Ceremony: Revival, Rivalry and Civil Religion in Glastonbury’ in Folklore 117, Issue 2, 2006:123-140 Read this online or download in PDF format.

‘Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, Heart Chakra of Planet Earth: Localisation and Globalisation in Glastonbury’ Numen, 52:2, 2005:157-190

‘Taking Stories Seriously: Vernacular Religion, Contemporary Spirituality and the Myth of Jesus in Glastonbury’ Temenos, 39-40, 2003-2004:125-142

‘Healing in the Spiritual Marketplace: Consumers, Courses and Credentialism’ reprinted in The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of New Age Religions, James R. Lewis, ed (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2004), 339-348

‘Phenomenology, fieldwork and folk religion’ reprinted (with newly written Afterword) in Religion: Empirical Studies, Steven Sutcliffe, ed. (Aldershot: Ashgate 2004), 3-18

‘Procession and Possession in Glastonbury: Continuity, Change and the Manipulation of Tradition’ Folklore (2004) 115:3, 1-13

‘Vernacular Religion and Nature: The “Bible of the Folk” Tradition in Newfoundland’ Folklore 114:3 (2003), 285-295

‘From Keltoi to cybercelts: continuity and change in Celtic identities’ in Globalization and Europe, Mark Pittaway, ed. (Milton Keynes: The Open University, 2003),107-165

‘Contemporary Celtic spirituality’ in Belief Beyond Boundaries, Jo Pearson, ed. (Aldershot & Milton Keynes: Ashgate & The Open University: 2002), 55-101

‘The People’s Princess: Religion and Politics in the Mourning for Diana,’ in Politics and Folk Religion, Gabor Barna, ed. (Szeged, Hungary: Department of Ethnology, University of Szeged, 2001)

‘Introduction’ (with Steven Sutcliffe) and ‘More of the same?: Christianity, Vernacular Religion and Alternative Spirituality in Glastonbury,’ in Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality, co-edited with Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000),1-13; 83-104

‘Introduction’ and ‘The Need for Healing: A Bath Case Study’ in Healing and Religion, Marion Bowman, ed. (Middlesex: Hisarlik Press, 2000), ix-xii and 95-107

Pagan Identities, Special Issue of DISKUS, co-edited with Graham Harvey, DISKUS 6, 2000 (electronic journal)

Nature, the Natural and Pagan Pluralism,’ DISKUS 6, 2000

See also Open Research Online for further details of Marion Bowman’s research publications.

 

 

Teaching interests

Since joining The Open University I have contributed to the production and presentation of AA100 The Arts Past and Present, A151 Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture, A217 Introducing Religion, AD317 Religion Today: Tradition, Modernity and Change, AA300 Europe: Culture and Identities in a Contested Continent, and AD281 Understanding Global Heritage. For our new module A332 Why is Religion Controversial? I wrote units on ‘Consuming religion: materiality, markets and spiritually shopping around’ and ‘Religion, sexual abuse and controversy: a case study’.I co-chaired the MA Religious Studies in production, and chair A880.

I have supervised 10 doctoral students to completion, and have examined 28 doctoral theses for UK, European and Australian universities.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Cross-Cultural Identities Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Heritage Studies Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Material Cultures Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts

Publications

Vernacular Religion, Contemporary Spirituality and Emergent Identities: Lessons from Lauri Honko (2014)
Bowman, Marion
Approaching Religion, 4(1) (pp. 101-113)
Raising the Dead: Revisiting Letters to Diana (2013)
Bowman, Marion
Acta Ethnographica Hungarica, 58(1) (pp. 221-228)
Folklore, Religion and Contemporary Spirituality (2011)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore
Glastonbury festival and the performance of remembrance (2009-10)
Bowman, Marion
DISKUS, 10
Learning from experience: The value of analysing Avalon (2009)
Bowman, Marion
Religion, 39(2) (pp. 161-168)
A Tale of Two Celticities: Sacred Springs, Legendary Landscape, and Celtic Revival in Bath (2007-01)
Bowman, Marion
Australian Religion Studies Review, 20(1) (pp. 93-115)
Arthur and Bridget in Avalon: Celtic Myth, Vernacular Religion and Contemporary Spirituality in Glastonbury (2007-01)
Bowman, Marion
Fabula, Journal of Folktale Studies, 48(1/2) (pp. 16-32)
The Holy Thorn Ceremony: Revival, Rivalry and Civil Religion in Glastonbury (Presidential Address given to the Folklore Society, March 2005) (2006-08)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore, 117(2) (pp. 123-140)
Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, Heart Chakra of Planet Earth: the Local and the Global in Glastonbury (2005-04)
Bowman, Marion I.
Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 52(2) (pp. 157-190)
Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, Heart Chakra of Planet Earth: the Local and the Global in Glastonbury (2005)
Bowman, Marion I.
Numen, 52(2) (pp. 157-190)
Procession and possession in Glastonbury: Continuity, change and the manipulation of tradition (2004-12)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore, 115(3) (pp. 273-285)
Taking stories seriously: vernacular religion, contemporary Spirituality and the myth of Jesus in Glastonbury (2004)
Bowman, Marion
Temenos, 39-40 (pp. 125-142)
Vernacular religion and nature: The “Bible of the Folk” tradition in Newfoundland (2003-03)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore, 114(3) (pp. 285-295)
nature, the natural and pagan identity (2000)
Bowman, Marion
Pagan Identities, Special Issue of DISKUS, Marion Bowman, Graham Harvey, eds., 6
Research Note: After Diana (1998)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore, 109 (pp. 99-101)
Belief, Legend and Perceptions of the Sacred in Contemporary Bath (1998)
Bowman, Marion
Folklore, 109 (pp. 25-31)
The Noble Savage and the Global Village: Cultural Evolution in New Age and Neo-Pagan Thought (1995)
Bowman, Marion
Journal of Contemporary Religion, 10(2) (pp. 139-149)
Religion in Bath: Beyond the Facade (1994)
Bowman, Marion
Religion Today, 9(3) (pp. 32-37)
Islam, adat and multiculturalism in Malaysia (1994)
Bowman, Marion
Diskus, 2(1) (pp. 15-27)
Reinventing the Celts (1993)
Bowman, Marion
Religion, 23(2) (pp. 147-156)
Christianity: Study Guide (2006)
Sinclair, Stefanie and Bowman, Marion
ISBN : 9780749296353 | Publisher : Open University | Published : Milton Keynes, U.K.
"Helping Glastonbury to Come into Its Own”: Practical Spirituality, Materiality, and Community Cohesion in Glastonbury (2016)
Bowman, Marion
In: Coats, Curtis D. and Emerich, Monica M. eds. Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age (pp. 51-65)
ISBN : 978-1-4742-2316-4 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London, New York
He’s My Best Friend” Relationality, Materiality, and the Manipulation of Motherhood in Devotion to St Gerard Majella in Newfoundland (2016)
Bowman, Marion
In: Woo, Terry Tak-ling and Lee, Becky R. eds. Canadian Women Shaping Diasporic Religious Identities (pp. 3-34)
ISBN : 978-1-77112-153-8 | Publisher : Wilfrid Laurier University Press | Published : Waterloo, Ontario
Christianity, Plurality and Vernacular Religion in early Twentieth Century Glastonbury: A Sign of Things to Come? (2015)
Bowman, Marion
In: Methuen, Charlotte; Spicer, Andrew and Wolffe, John eds. Christianity and Religious Plurality. Studies in Church History (pp. 302-321)
ISBN : 9780954681036 | Publisher : Boydell & Brewer | Published : Woodbridge
Vernacular/ Lived Religion (2014-01-02)
Bowman, Marion
In: Chryssides, George D. and Zeller, Benjamin E. eds. The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements (pp. 253-269)
ISBN : 9781441190055 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London
Valuing spirituality: Commodification, consumption and community in Glastonbury (2013-07)
Bowman, Marion
In: Gauthier, François and Martikainen, Tuomas eds. Religion in consumer society: Brands, consumers and markets (pp. 207-224)
ISBN : 9781409449867 | Publisher : Ashgate
Understanding Glastonbury as a site of consumption (2011-08-10)
Bowman, Marion
In: Lynch, Gordon; Mitchell, Jolyon and Strhan, Anna eds. Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader (pp. 11-22)
ISBN : 978-0-415-54954-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, New York
From Glastonbury to Hungary: contemporary integrative spirituality and vernacular religion in context (2009)
Bowman, Marion
In: Vargyas, Gábor ed. Passageways: From Hungarian Ethnography to European Ethnology and Sociocultural Anthropology. (195 -221)
ISBN : 978 963 236 2878 | Publisher : Department of European Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, The University of Pécs - L’Harmattan Publishing House | Published : Budapest
Going with the flow: contemporary pilgrimage in Glastonbury (2008)
Bowman, Marion
In: Margry, Peter Jan ed. Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred (pp. 241-280)
ISBN : 978 90 8964 011 6 | Publisher : Amsterdam University Press | Published : Amsterdam
Å følge strømmen. Moderne pilegrimsferd I Glastonbury To follow the flow. Modern Pilgrimage to Glastonbury (2007)
Bowman, Marion
In: Gilhus, Ingvild Sælid and Kraft, Siv Ellen eds. Religiøse reiser. Mellom gamle spor og nye mål (pp. 51-62)
ISBN : 9788215011639 | Publisher : Universitetsforlaget | Published : Oslo
Neo-druidism (2005-12)
Bowman, Marion
In: Koch, John T. ed. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (pp. 1353-1354)
ISBN : 1851094407 | Publisher : ABC-CLIO Ltd | Published : Santa Barbara, US
Spirituality, Celtic (2005-12)
Bowman, Marion
In: Koch, John T. ed. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (pp. 1622-1623)
ISBN : 1851094407 | Publisher : ABC-CLIO Ltd | Published : Santa Barbara, US
Phenomenology, fieldwork and folk religion (2004)
Bowman, Marion
In: Sutcliffe, Steven ed. Religion: Empirical Studies (pp. 3-18)
ISBN : 754641589 | Publisher : Ashgate
Healing in the spiritual marketplace : consumers, courses, and credentialism (2004)
Bowman, Marion
In: Lewis, James R ed. The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of New Age Religions (pp. 339-348)
ISBN : 1591020409 | Publisher : Prometheus Books | Published : Amherst, NY
From Keltoi to cybercelts: continuity and change in Celtic identities (2003-12-01)
Bowman, Marion
In: Pittaway, Mark ed. Globalization and Europe (pp. 107-165)
ISBN : 749296127 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Buckingham, UK
Contemporary Celtic spirituality (2002-07-09)
Bowman, Marion
In: Pearson, Joanne ed. Belief beyond boundaries: Wicca, Celtic spirituality and the New Age. Religion today: tradition, modernity and change (5) (pp. 55-101)
ISBN : 754607445 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
More of the same? Christianity, vernacular religion and alternative spirituality in Glastonbury (2000-02)
Bowman, Marion
In: Sutcliffe, Steven and Bowman, Marion eds. Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality (pp. 83-104)
ISBN : 748609989 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
Introduction (2000-02)
Bowman, Marion
In: Bowman, Marion and Sutcliffe, Steven eds. Beyond New Age: Exploring Altenative Spirituality (pp. 1-13)
ISBN : 748609989 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
The need for healing: a Bath case study (2000)
Bowman, Marion
In: Bowman, Marion ed. Healing and Religion (pp. 95-107)
ISBN : 1874312281 | Publisher : Hisarlik Press | Published : Enfield Lock, Middlesex
Contemporary Celtic spirituality (2000)
Bowman, Marion
In: Hale, Amy and Payton, Philip eds. New Directions in Celtic Studies (pp. 69-91)
ISBN : 859896226 | Publisher : University of Exeter Press | Published : Exeter
A provincial city shows respect: shopping and mourning in Bath (1999)
Bowman, Marion
In: Walter, Tony ed. The Mourning for Diana (pp. 215-225)
ISBN : 185973233X | Publisher : Berg | Published : Oxford
Cardiac Celts: images of the Celts in contemporary British paganism (1995)
Bowman, Marion
In: Harvey, Graham and Hardman, Charlotte eds. Paganism Today (pp. 242-251)
ISBN : 722532334 | Publisher : Thorsons | Published : London
The commodification of the Celt: New Age/Neo-pagan consumerism (1994)
Bowman, Marion
In: Brewer, Teri ed. The Marketing of Tradition: Perspectives on Folklore, Tourism and the Heritage Industry. Folklore in Use: Applications in the Real World (2) (pp. 143-152)
ISBN : 1874312214 | Publisher : Hislarik Press | Published : Enfield Lock, Middlesex
Drawn to Glastonbury (1993)
Bowman, Marion
In: Reader, Ian and Walter, Tony eds. Pilgrimage in Popular Culture (pp. 29-62)
ISBN : 333563182 | Publisher : MacMillan | Published : Basingstoke
Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life: Expressions of Belief (2012-02-28)
Bowman, Marion and Valk, Ülo eds.
ISBN : 978-1-908049-50-6 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York & London
Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality (2000-02)
Sutcliffe, Steven and Bowman, Marion eds.
ISBN : 748609989 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
Healing and Religion (2000)
Bowman, Marion ed.
Hisarlik Studies in Contemporary Religion
ISBN : 187431229X | Publisher : Hisarlik Press | Published : London
Pagan Identities: DISKUS 6 (2000)
Bowman, Marion and Harvey, Graham
BASR, Wolverhampton.