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Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett

Profile summary

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Professional biography

I joined the Religious Studies department at the Open University in 2010. I was awarded my PhD by the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) having studied under the supervision of Dr Cosimo Zene. I conducted ethnographic research in the Philippines around the extinct volcano Mount Banahaw, a place popularly associated with healing, magic and "Rizalism", which got me interested in the improvisational elements of religion and culture.

Research interests

I am interested in theory and method in Religious Studies, and, as well as ethnographic research in the Philippines, I have conducted research in Taiwan around death and secularism and in Hong Kong and London, on the Occupy movement. I conducted research online during the Covid pandemic on the formation of transnational “moral publics” in relation to campaigns by Filipino human rights organisations in Europe and the Philippines to highlight the self-styled war on drugs pursued by former Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte.

I am currently leading two research projects both of which foreground issues of literacy in religion. One is focused on developing resources for FE colleges to teach religious literacy and is generously funded by St Peters Saltley Trust. The other attends to issues of disinformation and democracy, and the role of religious institutions and communities in both contesting and disseminating disinformational narratives. This project is supported by the Open Societal Challenges research fund at the Open University.


I am interested in supervising research students working on religion and social change, particularly in relation to Southeast Asian societies and diasporas.

Teaching interests

My recent teaching has focused on religion and protest in relation to recent waves of demonstrations in Hong Kong (Open University module D113 Global Challenges: Social Science in Action), on religious change and experimentation in the aftermath of the French revolution (Open University module A113 Revolutions),  and on "fetishism" in relation to technology, power, humans and things and the writings of Marx, Latour and Haraway (OU module DD218 Understanding Digital Societies). I am currently developing teaching materials in relation to transhumanism and disability (OU module DA332, Religion and Global Challenges). 

Impact and engagement

My research and teaching interests are aligned with the Open University's commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and to the Religious Studies department's commitment to knowledge exchange with schools and other stakeholders to promote religious literacy.

External collaborations

I am a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the British Sociological Association and its sociology of religion arm SOCREL, and the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR).

I am on the editorial board of four, international peer-reviewed journals, Culture and Religion, Implicit Religion, Critical Research on Religion and Frontiers in Sociology. I am also a Research Associate with the Centre for Critical Research on Religion. I co-edit the Bloomsbury book series, Religion, Space and Place.

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


[Book Review] Marxism, Religion, and Emancipatory Politics, edited by Graeme Kirkpatrick, Peter Mcmylor and Simin Fadaee (2024)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Sociology of Religion, 85(1) (pp. 113-114)

Study of Religion and The Dawn of Everything (2023-09)
Tremlett, Paul-François; Harvey, Graham; Robertson, David and Cusack, Carole
Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR), 25 (pp. 86-105)

Transreligiosity and the Messiness of Religious and Social Worlds: Towards a Deleuzian Methodological Imagination for Religious Studies (2023)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Religions, 14, Article 527(4)

Transnational Affect and the Making of a Moral Public: The War on Drugs in the Philippines (2023)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Sociological Research Online ((Early Access))

Forget worldviews: Towards a Deleuzian religious studies (2022-11-11)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR), 23 (29 -41)

[Book Review] The Critical Study of Non-Religion: Discourse, Identification and Locality (2021)
Paul-François, Tremlett
Critical Research on Religion, 9(3) (pp. 356-358)

[Book Review] Kapuściński, Ryszard; with an introduction by Neal Ascherson; trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones. The other. 100 pp. London: Verso Books, 2018. £8.99 (paper) (2020-09)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26(3) (pp. 685-686)

Effervescence and Implosion in the Sociologies of Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard: Towards a Sociology of Religion at the End of the Social (2020)
Tremlett, Paul-François
International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, 16(1)

Protest objects: bricolage, performance and counter-archaeology (2017-05-31)
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)

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)

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)

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 Marxism: An Introduction (2023)
Tremlett, Paul-François
ISBN : 9781800502871 | Publisher : Equinox Publishering | Published : UK

Towards a New Theory of Religion and Social Change: Sovereignties and Disruptions (2020-09)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Bloomsbury Studies in Religion, Space and Place
ISBN : 9781474272575 | Publisher : Bloomsbury

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

Is Atheism a Religion, Belief-System or a Worldview? (2022-11)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Taira, Teemu ed. Atheism in Five Minutes (pp. 79-82)
ISBN : 9781800502376 | Publisher : Equinox Publishing Ltd

Urbanism and religious space (2022-06-21)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Kilde, Jeanne ed. Oxford Handbook of Religious Space. Oxford Handbooks (pp. 58-78)
ISBN : 9780197641460 | Publisher : OUP

Modernism and Postmodernism (2021-02)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Segal, Robert A. and Roubekas, Nickolas P. eds. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion, 2nd Ed. Wiley Blackwell Companions to Religion (pp. 325-334)
ISBN : 978-0-470-65656-3 | Publisher : Wiley Blackwell | Published : Chichester

Lévi-Strauss, Claude (2020-02)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Possamai, Adam and Blasi, Anthony J. eds. The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion
ISBN : 9781473942202 | Publisher : SAGE Publications | Published : Thousand Oaks, CA

Malinowski, Bronislaw (2020-02)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Possamai, Adam and Blasi, Anthony J. eds. The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion
ISBN : 9781473942202 | Publisher : SAGE Publications | Published : Thousand Oaks, CA

Religion, Marxism, and Ideology (2018-09-05)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Callan, Hilary ed. The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology
ISBN : 978-0-470-65722-5 | Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell

Tristes Tropiques (2018-09-05)
Tremlett, Paul-François
In: Callan, Hilary ed. The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology
ISBN : 978-0-470-65722-5 | Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell

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

Ritual and Democracy: Protests, Publics and Performances (2020-09-01)
Tremlett, Paul-François; Pike, Sarah M. and Salomonsen, Jone eds.
ISBN : 9781781799765 | Publisher : Equinox | Published : Sheffield

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

Levi-Strauss, Claude (2020)
Tremlett, Paul-François
Bloomsbury, 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).