Skip to content

Toggle service links

Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett

Profile summary

  • Head of Department
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Religious Studies
  • paul-francois.tremlett

Professional biography

I pursued my undergraduate degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Social Anthropology and the Study of Religions. With a regional specialization in Southeast Asia, I decided to continue my studies and enrolled on the PhD programme in the Study of Religions department at SOAS with a focus on local religion and national identity in the Philippines at a specific site, the extinct volcano Mount Banahaw. Banahaw interested me because it is home to a number of independent churches notable for their veneration of the mountain itself and Jose Rizal. Since then my research has increasingly reflected my interest in religion, politics and processes of rapid social and spatial change. My most recent research has concerned Occupy camps and protests in London and Hong Kong as part of an international and inter-disciplinary research collaboration funded by the Norwegian Research Council called 'Reassembling Democracy: Ritual as Cultural Resource' (see I also now co-edit the Bloomsbury Book Series 'Religion Space and Place'

Research interests

I am interested in classical and contemporary anthropological and sociological theories of religion, and the broad constitution of religion as a site of study in societies experiencing rapid social change. My current research interests can be summed up as follows:

  1. contemporary intersections of religion and politics;
  2. space, nature and the city;
  3. classical theories of religion (e.g. Tylor, Durkheim, Marx, Weber);
  4. structuralism and after;
  5. theories of religion and social change.

I am Head of Discipline (which is a weird way of saying Head of Department).


(forthcoming) Edward Burnett Tylor, Religion and Culture. London: Bloomsbury (volume of essays celebrating E. B. Tylor's centenary, co-edited with Graham Harvey and Liam Sutherland). 

(forthcoming) ‘Tristes Tropiques’ in The International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. (ed). H. Callan. Wiley-Blackwell.

(forthcoming) ‘Religion, Marxism and Ideology’ in The International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. (ed). H. Callan. Wiley-Blackwell.

(forthcoming) ‘Durkheim and the Anthropology of Religion’ in Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology, (ed). John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press.

2016 ‘Affective Dissent in the Heart of the Capitalist Utopia: Occupy Hong Kong and the Sacred’ in Sociology Vol. 50, No. 6, pp. 1156-1169.

2016 ‘Post-Structuralism and Religious Studies’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion. (eds). S. Engler & M. Stausberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 220-234.

2016  ‘Looking Back on the End of Religion: Opening Re Marx’ in After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies. (eds). C. Cotter & D. Robertson. London: Routledge, pp. 92-106.

2015 ‘Structure’ in Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, (eds). R. Segal & K. von Stuckrad. Leiden: Brill, pp. 417-423.

2015 ‘Forget Dawkins: Notes Towards an Anthropology of Religious Belief and Doubt’ in Social Analysis. Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 81-96. (co-authored article with F-L. Shih).

2014 ‘Urban Religious Change at the Neo-Liberal Frontier: Notes towards a Spatial Analysis of Contemporary Filipino Vernacular Catholicism’ in Philippine Studies: Ethnographic and Historical Viewpoints. Vol. 62, No. 3-4, pp. 529-547.

 2013 ‘The Problem with the Jargon of Inauthenticity: Towards a Materialist re-positioning of the Analysis of Postmodern Religion’ in a Special Issue of Culture and Religion edited by Carole Cusack, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 463-476.

 2012 ‘Two Shock Doctrines: From Christo-Disciplinary to Neoliberal Urbanisms in the Philippines’ in Culture and Religion Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 405-423.

2012 'The Ancestral Sensorium and the City: Reflections on Religion, Environmentalism and Citizenship in the Philippines’ in Harvey, G., (ed) Handbook of Contemporary Animism, London: Equinox.

2012 'Occupied Territory at the Interstices of the Sacred: Between Capital and Community’  in Religion and Society. Vol. 3, pp. 130-141.

2011 'Weber-Foucault-Nietzsche: Uncertain Legacies for the Sociology of Religion in Stern, S., (ed) Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History, Leiden: Brill.

2011 'Structure Amongst the Modules: Lévi-Strauss and Cognitive Theorizing about Religion’ in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, Vol. 23, pp. 351-366.

2011 ‘Re-cognizing the Mind in the Anthropology of Religion’ in NUMEN, Vol. 58, No. 4 pp. 545-565.

2010 'Animated Texts: Theoretical Reflections on Case Studies from the Lowland Christianized Philippines’ in Fieldwork in Religion, Vol. 5, No. 2, 226-239.

2009 Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan London & New York: Routledge (co-edited volume of essays with F-L. Shih and S. Thompson)

2008 'Anthropology, Dreams, Epistemology’ Anthropology Today Vol. 24, No. 6.

2008 'Consciousness and the Jargon of Authenticity: Religion and Nationalism in the Christianised, Lowland Philippines’ Proselytization Revisted: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars. (ed). R. I. J. Hackett. London: Equinox.

2008 Religion and the Discourse on Modernity London & New York: Continuum (book)

2008 Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Structuring Mind. London: Equinox (book)

2006 ‘The Formation and Function of the Category “Religion” in Anthropological Studies of Taiwan’ Method and Theory in the Study of Religion Vol. 18, No. 1. (co-authored article, with F-L. Shih and S. Feuchtwang))

2004 'On the Formation and Function of the Category ‘Religion’ in Anarchist Writing’ Religion and Culture Vol. 5, No. 3 pp. 367-381.

1999 'Utopia as Praxis: The case of Joanna Southcott and the Panacea Society’ The Scottish Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1.

Online essays and other media

2015 OpenLearn Star Wars VII: 'Can Jediism be classed as a religion?'

2015 OpenLearn Star Wars VII: 'The use of myth'

On religion in postmodern or  'new times':

2014 'Religion in New Times' in Soundings. Issue 57, pp. 118-125.

On modernity and secularism:

Part I Modernity

Part II Secularism

The Religious Studies Project


12/12/2016 'New Horizons in the Sociology of Religion; Beyond Secularization?' (with Grace Davie, Joe Webster, Carole Cusack, Jonathan Jong, Linda Woodhead and Kim Knott)

05/12/2016 'Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies?' (with Titus Hjelm)

02/12/2013 'Claude Lévi-Strauss'

‘The Legacy of Structuralism’

I have also been interviewed by the Bulletin for the Study of Religion and the interview appears in 3 parts on the journal’s blog: Part I, Part 2, and Part 3. This has also been published as ‘The Legacy of Structuralism: An Interview with Paul-François Tremlett’ by Donovan O. Schaefer in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol. 41, No. 3, 2012. 

I also contributed to’s ‘public engagement’ blog with a short piece on Occupy London:

as well as contributing to the Religious Studies departmental blog

On the Paris attacks

On Daesh and iconoclasm

On Daesh and violence

On money, austerity and debt

and the ‘Votives Project’ blog on Mount Banahaw and Rizal

and the CCIG 'Methods in Motion' blog

Teaching materials:

2013 Controversial Ideas. Milton Keynes: Open University. (edited volume, authored chapters on the new atheism and on cognitive approaches to religion). 
2012 Afterlives. Milton Keynes: Open University. (edited volume, authored chapter on religion and tourism).

Teaching interests

I am currently co-supervising 5 doctoral students, a couple with CHASE funding, two self-funded, part-time and a further student in Psychology with Professor Paul Stenner. I am interested in attracting further research students who are looking to think and work interdisciplinarily, particularly in terms of religion, rapid social change and post-modernity.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Cross-Cultural Identities Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Material Cultures Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
The Ferguson Centre for African and Asian StudiesCentreFaculty of Arts


Effervescence and Implosion in the Sociologies of Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard: Towards a Sociology of Religion at the End of the Social (2019)
Tremlett, Paul-François
International Journal of Baudrillard Studies ((In Press))
Protest objects: bricolage, performance and counter-archaeology (2017)
Soar, Katy and Tremlett, Paul-François
World Archaeology, 49(4) (pp. 423-434)
Affective Dissent in the Heart of the Capitalist Utopia: Occupy Hong Kong and the Sacred (2016-12-01)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Sociology, 50(6) (pp. 1156-1169)
Forget Dawkins: Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt (2015-06-01)
Tremlett, Paul-François and Shih, Fang-Long
Social Analysis: The International Journal of Cultural and Social Practice, 59(2) (pp. 81-96)
Urban religious change at the neoliberal frontier: notes toward a spatial analysis of a contemporary Filipino Vernacular Catholicism (2014-10)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Philippine Studies: Historical & Ethnographic Viewpoints, 62(3-4) (pp. 529-547)
The problem with the jargon of inauthenticity: towards a materialist repositioning of the analysis of postmodern religion (2013)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Culture and Religion, 14(4) (pp. 463-476)
Two shock doctrines: from Christo-disciplinary to neo-liberal urbanisms in the Philippines (2012-12)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Culture and Religion, 13(4) (pp. 405-423)
Occupied territory at the interstices of the sacred: between capital and community (2012-12)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Religion and Society, 3(1) (pp. 130-141)
Re-cognizing the Mind in the Anthropology of Religion (2011-01-01)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 58(4) (pp. 545-565)
Structure amongst the modules: Lévi-Strauss and cognitive theorizing about religion (2011)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 23(3-4) (pp. 351-366)
Animated texts: theoretical reflections on case studies from the lowland, Christianized Philippines (2010)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Fieldwork in Religion, 5(2) (pp. 207-220)
Anthropology, dreams, epistemology: a response to Wilson and Myhre (2008-12)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Anthropology Today, 24(6) (pp. 27-29)
Death-scapes in Taipei and Manila: a postmodernnecrography (2007-11)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Taiwan in Comparative Perspsective, 1 (pp. 23-36)
Religion, culture and politics in the Philippines (2007-04-29)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
The ethics of suspicion in the study of religions (2007)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Diskus: The journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR), 8, Article 3
The formation and function of the category "religion" in anthropological studies of Taiwan Taiwan. Vol. 18, No. 1, 2006 (2006)
Feuchtwang, Stephan; Shih, Fang-Long and Tremlett, Paul-François
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 18(1) (pp. 37-66)
on the Formation and Function of the Category 'Religion' in anarchist writing (2004-11)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Culture and Religion, 5(3) (pp. 367-381)
Utopia as Praxis: the case of Joanna Southcott and the Panacea Society (1999)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
The Scottish Journal of Religious Studies, 20(1) (pp. 89-102)
Religion and the Discourse on Modernity (2009-03)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Continuum Advances in Religious Studies
ISBN : 978-0-8264-9823-6 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London, UK
Levi-Strauss on Religion: The Structuring Mind (2008-11)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
Key Thinkers in the Study of Religion
ISBN : 978-1-84553-278-9 | Publisher : Equinox | Published : London, UK
Why do we need the study of religion if we already have historians, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and folklorists? (2017-08)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Hughes, Aaron W. and McCutcheon, Russell T. eds. Religion in Five Minutes (pp. 282-285)
ISBN : 9781781794654 | Publisher : Equinox
(Post)structuralism (2016-11-24)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Engler, Steven and Stausberg, Michael eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion (pp. 220-234)
ISBN : 9780198729570 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Looking back on the end of religion: Opening Re-Marx (2016)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Cotter, Christopher R. and Robertson, David G. eds. After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies. Religion in Culture: Studies in Social Contest and Construction (pp. 92-106)
ISBN : 978-1-138-91913-6 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Structure (2015-12)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
In: Segal, Robert A. and von Stuckrad, Kocku eds. Vocabulary for the Study of Religion
ISBN : 9789004290433 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden
The ancestral sensorium and the city: reflections on religion, environmentalism and citizenship in the Philippines (2013-10-31)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
In: Harvey, Graham ed. Handbook of Contemporary Animism
ISBN : 9781844657117 | Publisher : Acumen | Published : Durham
Weber-Foucault-Nietzsche: Uncertain Legacies for the Sociology of Religion (2011)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
In: Stern, Sacha ed. Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History. IJS Studies in Judaica (12) (pp. 287-303)
ISBN : 9789004206489 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden
Re-riting death: secularism and death-scapes in Taipei (2009)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
In: Shih, Fang-long; Thompson, Stuart and Tremlett, Paul-Francois eds. Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan (pp. 34-49)
ISBN : 978-0-415-60293-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London & New York
False consciousness and the jargon of authenticity: religion and nationalism in the christianised lowland Philippines (2008)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
In: Hackett, Rosalind I. J. ed. Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (pp. 283-300)
ISBN : 978-1-84553-228-4 | Publisher : Equinox | Published : London, UK
Edward Burnett Tylor, Religion and Culture (2017)
Tremlett, Paul-François; Harvey, Graham and Sutherland, Liam T. eds.
ISBN : 9781350003415 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London
Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan (2008-11)
Shih, Fang-long; Tremlett, Paul and Thompson, Stuart eds.
Asia's Transformations
ISBN : 978-0-415-46666-0 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Durkheim and the Anthropology of Religion (2017-06)
Tremlett, P.
Oxford University Press
Power, invulnerability, beauty: producing and transforming male bodies in the lowland Chritianised Philippines (2006)
Tremlett, Paul-Francois
School of Oriental and African Studies, University Centre Website (School of Oriental and African Studies' Centre for Gender and Religion Research).