Professor James Cox (PhD)

Honorary Fellow


I have particular interests in the study of Indigenous Religions, with emphases on Africa, the Arctic and Australia and in methodologies in the academic study of religions.

My interest in approaches to the study of religions developed out of my first degree in philosophical phenomenology, but subsequently I have applied theory to practice in field studies conducted in Zimbabwe and Alaska.

I became interested in Indigenous Religions after I was appointed to a lectureship in Alaska Pacific University in 1981, and pursued this further after my appointment in the University of Zimbabwe in 1989. Most recently, whilst on a teaching exchange with the University of Sydney in Australia, I conducted research on Christian interpretations of Australian Aboriginal religions.

From 1993, I directed the African Christianity Project in the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now the Centre for the Study of World Christianity) forging links with universities and research institutes in western and southern Africa.

In 1999, I was appointed to the Religious Studies Subject Area in the University of Edinburgh and was awarded a Personal Chair in Religious Studies in 2007.

From 1 December 2011 until 1 June 2012 I was the de Carle Distinguished Lecturer in the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand working with the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

In 2013 I was the recipient of an award under the auspices of the International Research Initiative Scheme of the University of Western Sydney to conduct research on Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal  peoples.

Responsibilities & affiliations

External appointments

Past President, British Association for the Study of Religions

Co-editor of the Religion in Modern Africa Series of Ashgate Publications

Co-editor of Bloomsbury's  Advances in Religious Studies Series 

Past General Secrectary of the African Association for the Study of Religions and Past Deputry General Secretary of the European  Association for the Study of Religions

Research summary

Religious Studies

Research Links

Indigeneity Research in Scotland (IRIS) network

Non-Religions and Secularity Network (NRSN)


Current research interests

I am working on an co-edited manuscript with Professor Adam Possamai of the University of Western Sydney to be published by Ashgate under the title 'Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples'. I am also just completing a co-edited volume with Dr Abraham Kovacs of the University of Debrecen in Hungary to be published late in 2014 by L'Harmattan (Paris and Budapest) entitled, 'New Trends and Recurring Issues in the Study of Religion'. My next research project will explore the contribution of the the Australian anthropologist and linguist, T.G.H. Strehlow, to contemporary understandings of Australian Aboriginal peoples.