Prof Emma Wild-Wood

Professor of African Religions and World Christianity


I took up my position in Edinburgh in 2018. Before coming to Edinburgh I was the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide and Lecturer in World Christianities in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge.  Prior to that I taught in Bunia in DR Congo and in Uganda for a number of years. I studied in Edinburgh, taking my doctorate in the Centre for the Study of World Christianity under the supervision of Dr Jack Thompson and Prof. David Kerr.


BD (hons), MTh, PhD

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity.

Co-editor of book series, 'Transforming Religion in Africa,' James Currey.

Co-editor of journal, 'Studies in World Christianity' with Alex Chow.

Member of Editorial Board, for 'Journal of African Religion' 'Exchange' and 'Mission Studies' and 'Journal of Africana Religion'

Undergraduate teaching

  • Global Indigenous Religions 
  • Evangelism and Empire (course manager)
  • Religions in Africa (course manager)

Postgraduate teaching

  • History of Christianity in Africa (course manager)
  • African Religious Diversity (course manager)
  • Selected Themes in World Christianity
  • Approaches to Research


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am primarily a historian of African religious movements who works into the contemporary era and has a working knowledge of Christianity worldwide. I am familiar with ethnographic methods.

If your PhD topic is primarily theological, please approach a theologian in the first instance as supervisor.

Current PhD students supervised

My Current students are examining the following topics:

Jeffery Peterson, ‘A History of the Attempts to Inculturate the Crow-Catholic Church, 1965-1995.’

Jackie Hwang, ‘Migration, Multiple Belonging, and Transnational Chinese Christianity: An Ethnographic Study of Mainland Chinese Students’ Shifting Conception of “Family” as Religious and Cultural Negotiations within Singapore’s Christian Communities.’

Axolile Qina, Implications of sacrifice in John’s Gospel for contemporary Xhosa sacrificial practice.

Kpanie Addy, The Catholic Church and Ghana’s transition from the Rawlings revolutionary era to democratic constitutional governance (1979-2001): A study of Christianity’s public role in a West African state’

Alison Silversmit, 'The Development of Development-in-Mission: Christian Transnational Aid in United Society Partners in Gospel from 1947 to 2020'.

Past PhD students supervised

Nuam Hatsaw ‘Towards a Theology of In-betweenness: The Experiences of 1.5 Generation Migrant Zomi Women in Europe in conversation with Asian American Perspectives.’

Nico Brice Bennett  ‘Tanzanian Christianity and Socio-Political Thought in the Nyerere Years: A Comparative Study of the Chagga of Kilimanjaro and the Haya of Kagera, 1954-1985’

Jessie Furbara-Manuel, ‘The role of Christian Faith for Women with Disabilities and HIV in South-South Nigeria’

Adrian Deese, 'Divinity and the State: Polity, Soveriegnty and Kingship in Anglican Egba-Yoruba  Apologetics 1830-1897'

Aloys Ojore, 'A New Model of Pastoral Care: Resources from Luo Widows in Kisumu Archdiocese.'

Research summary

My research interests focus on religious encounter in East-Central Africa, particularly Christian conversion and the growth of mission-initiated denominations between 1800 and the present day.  A new focus is the intersection of health and faith in the region.

I am primarily a social historian, 1800 to the present day.

Current research interests

I am currently working with Congolese researchers to examine the role of faith communities in DR Congo during the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to improving public health responses.

Past research interests

In a critical biography, 'The mission of Apolo Kivebulaya: Social Change and Religious Encounter in the Great Lakes 1865-1935' (James Currey, 2020), I am able to give a new perspective on the history of religious change in the Great Lakes of Africa and on indigenous evangelists using the lens of a single life. With George Mpanga, I have translated and edited a primary source book,  'The archive of a Ugandan Missionary: Wiritngs by and about Revd Apolo Kivebulaya (1890s-1950s) (British Academy, OUP, 2021)  My PhD thesis and first monograph examined the impact of migration on Christian identity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I have written on migration and Christianity in Africa and the United Kingdom, and on the East African Revival.

Knowledge exchange

Africa in Motion film festival 2019 - historical introduction to Joel Karekezi's 'The Grace of the Jungle.'

Home office seminar on World Christianity. Churches Together England conference, Festival of Ideas, Cambridge. Talks to numerous charities and churches on the impact of global migration on Christianity

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

My project is a contemporary examination of the intersection between faith and COVID-19 in Congo.

Current project grants

AHRC grant