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Carolyn Wason (2018)

Carolyn Wason (2018)

Research Title: To Teach the Good and Right Way: Anglo-Catholic clerical formation as negotiation of the British secular

Supervisor: Professor Joel Robbins


My doctoral research focuses on Catholic conceptions of ‘the secular’ within the context of a pontifical seminary in France, and particularly focusing on Christian intellectual traditions and the transmission of theology through Catholic hierarchical structures from clergy to laity. I situate these questions of theology and religious education within the context of French laïcité, the principle governing the separation of church and state (Église et République) which has developed from a long history of French Catholicism. Much of my research will center around ‘boundary marking’ as both a secular process of differentiation and a Catholic process of engaging with the divine; thus, questions of access – gender, clerical-lay divisions, etc – and participation will be a point of departure both methodologically and analytically. 

Prior to joining the Department of Anthropology at Cambridge, I completed my MSc in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford with distinction (2018), and my BA in Cultural Anthropology at Eastern University in the United States (2015). My Masters thesis was an exploration of Mormon practical ethics and the enchantment of personhood through the doctrine of theosis. I have also been a research assistant on projects related to American evangelical ethics of missions, and testimonial experiences of Muslim-background converts to Christianity in Gaza.

Research Interests

My research interests include Christianity, religion, theology, secularism, education, knowledge production and dissemination, gender, ritual, and narrative.