Dr Richard McCallum

B.Sc.Physics (London, Imperial), M.A. Applied Linguistics (Leicester), Ph.D. Sociology (Exeter)

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I am an associate member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford and a stipendiary tutor at Wycliffe Hall. I'm also a sociologist of religion with research interests in the contemporary encounter of Christians and Muslims in society, especially in the UK, but also around the world.

My interest in Islam grew during 10 years spent living and teaching in Tunis, North Africa and, on my return, my doctorate explored Christian responses to Islam in the British context. I was then based at the University of Exeter where I taught the Sociology of Religion.

I now provide teaching for Wycliffe Hall on Islam and Christian-Muslim Engagement and often teach at the other Oxford theological colleges.  I have taught Contemporary IslamChristian-Muslim Relations and Christian Responses to Islam at various colleges and conferences in addition to providing freelance intercultural training to industry and the public sector.

I am the founder and director of the Oxford Muslim-Christian Summer School and am interested in the evaluation of recent inter-faith initiatives such as the summer school run by the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme.


Current projects

Christians and Muslims in Public Life (CMPL), Educating Seminaries, and the Christian Teachers of Islam network.  

Book contributions

‘Public Intellectuals and Micro-Public Spheres: a British illustration’, in Thijssen, P., Weyns, W., Timmerman, C., & Mels, . (eds.) New Public Spheres: Recontextualizing the Intellectual (Aldershot: Ashgate), 2013

  • Developed from a paper first given at a conference at the Universitair Centrum Sint-Ignatius in Antwerp this chapter looks at Christian writers and speakers on Islam as public intellectuals seeking to influence the opinion of their public – Christians in the church.

‘Rejection or Accommodation? Trends in Evangelical Christian Responses to Muslims’, in Guest, M. & E. Arweck (eds.) Religion and Knowledge: Sociological perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate), 2012

  • This chapter uses the work of sociologists such as Peter Berger and Christian Smith to explore Christian reactions to Islam and the possible futures.  Will Christians withdraw and entrench themselves?  Will they turn to crusade?  Will they capitulate?  Or will they develop an ‘engaged orthodoxy’?

‘Tensions in British Evangelical Responses to Islam and Muslims,' in Bell, S. & C. Chapman (eds.) Between Naivety and Hostility: How should Christians respond to Islam in Britain?  (Milton Keynes: Authentic), 50-63, 2011

  • An overview of Christian authors who have written about Islam in the British context since 2000.  Arranged in a spectrum of responses from those who tend to confrontation to those who tend to conciliation, the chapter draws out some of the main themes in Christian responses to Islam. 

Articles

‘Towards a framework and methodology for the evaluation of inter-faith initiatives’, Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 27/1, 63-81, 2018

  • A paper developed out of Richard’s experience evaluating the Cambridge Interfaith Programme’s Summer School. It reviews the literature on evaluating inter-faith work and proposes a framework and methodology that could be replicated in other contexts.

‘Evaluating Inter-faith Initiatives: A Cambridge case study’, Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 27/1, 83-103, 2018

  • The outcomes and data from Richard’s evaluation of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme’s Summer School including student accounts and testimonies, analysis and implications for other inter-faith programmes.

Islamophobia: A View from the UK, Evangelical Inter-faith Dialogue, Fall 2016, 32-33, 2016

  • In October 2015, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), Peace Catalyst International (PCI), and the Dialogue Institute (DI) convened a conference at Temple University designed to help evangelicals and others understand the consequences of and develop thoughtful responses to Islamophobia in the United States.  This article responds to some of the papers presented.  Article available online for download.  Click link above

‘Love: a Common Word between Evangelicals and Muslims?, Political Theology, 13.4, 400-413, 2012

  • A paper given at a conference at Glasgow University discussing A Common Word, an open letter written by Muslim leaders to world Christian leaders in 2007.  The article discussed evangelical Christian responses to the letter which were polarised between those who said ‘yes‘ and those who said ‘no‘ with some trying to hold the middle ‘yes but‘ position -  pdf available online for download.  Click link above.

‘Micro Public Spheres and the Sociology of Religion’, Journal for Contemporary Religion, 26/2: 173-187, 2011

  • This essay won the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group prize in 2010.  It draws on the work of Jurgen Habermas and others to develop a model for understanding the lifeworld public space as an interconnected lattice of ‘micro public spheres’ where matters of mutual interest are discussed and debated to form ‘public opinions’ in conferences, publications and – of course – coffee shops!  

Reports

‘The Cambridge Inter-faith Programme: Summer Schools 2011-15’, Cambridge: Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, 2016

  • A public summary of the full unpublished final report presented to the University of Cambridge evaluating the 5 CIP summer schools.  Available for download.

‘Integrating Islam: The Importance for Theological Education of Keeping Islam in Mind’, in R. Gaston & K. Brealey (Eds.), Inter-faith Engagement and Theological Education, London: Presence & Engagement, pp. 26-29, 55-69, 2016

  • A report investigating the teaching of Islam in Christian theological colleges in the British Isles.  Available for download.

‘Inter-faith Impact: An evaluation of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme Summer Schools 2011-13’, Cambridge: Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, 2013

  • A public summary of the full unpublished report presented to the University of Cambridge highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the first three years of the CIP Summer School Scriptural Reasoning programme.  Available for download.

Book Reviews

Nilüfer Göle, Islam and Secularity: The Future of Europe’s Public Sphere, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 32:2, 334-335

Raymond Baker, One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds: spirituality, identity and resistance across Islamic lands in Christian Century, 3 August 2016, 39-40

Titus Hjelm, Is God back? in Journal of Sociology of Religion, Volume 77, Issue 3, 1 September 2016, 300–301

Jocelyne Cesari, The Oxford Handbook of European Islam, in European Journal of Theology, XXV (2016):1, p109

Philip Jenkins, God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam and Europe’s religious crisis in Solas Magazine, Spring 2016, p34