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      Research Statement


      Joseph Webster came to Queen’s University Belfast as a Lecturer in Anthropology in 2013. Before coming to QUB, he was the Isaac Newton – Graham Robertson Research Fellow in Social Anthropology and Sociology at Downing College, Cambridge (2011-2013), having trained in both disciplines at the University of Edinburgh (2003-2012).


      His primary research interest concerns the anthropology of religion, with a particular focus on Protestantism in Scotland and the global north. Other research interests include politics, ethno-religious nationalism, personhood, embodiment, and cosmology. Theoretically, his work draws upon Weberian social theory, semiotics, and structuralism.


      His doctoral research focused upon the folk-theologies of salvation and eschatology among Scottish Brethren fishermen in Gamrie, a small Aberdeenshire fishing village of 700 people and six Protestant churches. Ethnographically, he examined how life as a deep sea fisherman and life as a millenarian Christian came together to produce a world that was both modern and enchanted. A monograph based on this research was published as The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013). The book develops a new reading of Max Weber's theory of disenchantment by rethinking the relationship between immanence and transcendence.


      His Research Fellowship at Cambridge was partly spent conducting a year of new fieldwork in Airdrie and Glasgow, examining the religion and cultural politics of Orangeism and unionism within the context of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. As well as following a full ‘marching season’, his fieldwork involved attending Orange ‘social clubs’, shadowing Protestant flute bands and Rangers FC supporters clubs, and conducting participant observation within loyalist communities across Scotland’s Central Belt. He is currently writing a new monograph based on this research (under contract, Manchester University Press) entitled The Religion of Orange Politics: Protestantism and Fraternity in Contemporary Scotland.


      I welcome applications from MA and PhD students conducting research on any of the following themes:


      • Religion, Christianity, Protestantism, Fundamentalism, Millenarianism, Zionism
      • Politics, Ethno-nationalism, Unionism, Loyalism, Orangeism
      • Personhood, Gender, Masculinity, Embodiment, Emotion
      • Language, Materiality, Symbol, Myth, Cosmology
      • Economics, Fishing, Maritime Anthropology
      • North Atlantic, Northern Europe, Britain, Scotland, Northern Ireland
      • The relationship between Anthropology and Theology




      Current Teaching at QUB


      • Apocalypse: The History and Anthropology of the End of the World (ANT3149/HIS2065)
      • Expressive Cultures (ESA1001)
      • Economic Anthropology (ANT2036)
      • MA New Frontiers: Bodies of Evidence (ANT7010)
      • MA War of Gods (MHY7080)


      Previous Teaching at QUB


      • Key Debates in Anthropology (ANT2022)
      • Ethnography: Exploring Other Worlds (ANT2033/ANT3146)


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      Frequent Journals

      • Psychology and Society

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 2041-5893


      • Cambridge Anthropology

        ISSNs: 0305-7674


      • Religion

        ISSNs: 0048-721X


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.64 SJR 0.421 SNIP 1.142


      • Ethnos

        ISSNs: 0014-1844

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1469-588X


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.75 SJR 0.576 SNIP 1.317


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      Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

      ID: 5454120