Dr Felicity Loughlin

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

  • School of Divinity

Contact details



School of Divinity, 1-7 Roxburgh St

Post code


I am a historian of religious thought, debate and practice within and across Scotland’s Christian denominations. My research spans the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries and concentrates especially on Scottish Christian encounters with non-Christian faiths and beliefs, the intersections between Scottish religious debates and scholarship, and the Scottish Christian response to cultural and intellectual change.

Born in Glasgow, I spent my childhood in Surrey and my adolescence in Ayr. I left the west coast in 2008 to complete an undergraduate degree in History and Classics at the University of Edinburgh. I moved to the Divinity School in 2012, where I completed a Masters in Theology in History. I remained at the University of Edinburgh for my doctoral research and was awarded a PhD in History in 2018. 

After three years as a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews, I have returned to the University of Edinburgh as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow. My current project explores unbelief in Scotland's predominantly Christian religious landscape, c.1697-1914.  I am also completing a monograph based on my doctoral research for Oxford University Press. 'The Scottish Enlightenment Confronts the Gods' examines Scotland's investigations into global non-Abrahamic religions and demonstrates the importance of these enquiries to European religious debates. 


MA (Hons) History and Classics, MSc Theology in History, PhD in History (all awarded by the University of Edinburgh)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Council Member of the Scottish Church History Society, currently serving as Conference Secretary and Essay Prize Coordinator: https://www.scottishchurchhistory.org/

Research summary

Key Research Themes & Specialisms:

  • The history of Scottish Christianity, c. 1700-c. 1914
  • Scottish Christian encounters with non-Christian faiths and beliefs
  • Scottish Christian responses to intellectual and cultural change
  • The intersections between Scottish religious debates and the history of scholarship
  • Debates and relationships between Scotland's unbelievers and Christians

Current research interests

My current research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores unbelief in the Scottish Christian landscape, c.1697-1914. Examining the period between the last execution for blasphemy and the emergence of proto-humanist Ethical Societies, it investigates the emotional and intellectual history of Scotland's unbelievers, their varied responses to the Christian mainstream, and the reactions they elicited from the civic and ecclesiastical authorities and religious communities.

Past research interests

-Religious controversy after the Scottish Enlightenment, 1789-1843; Scotland's investigations of global non-Abrahamic religions, c.1700-1800; ritual and religion in the European Enlightenment; the reception of antiquity in the European Enlightenment.