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Dr John Fahy

Affiliated Researcher


John Fahy joined the Woolf Institute as a Junior Research Fellow in November 2015. Based in Qatar, he is part of the QRNF funded project assessing the effectiveness of interfaith initiatives in Doha, Delhi and London. This project aims to better understand how both grassroots and leader-led interfaith initiatives can be assessed in terms of effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Fahy's PhD at the University of Cambridge was in Social Anthropology. His research focused on an international community of Krishna devotees (popularly known as the 'Hare Krishnas') in Mayapur, West Bengal. Framed by the anthropology of ethics, he looked at how devotees pursue ideals of self-fashioning and world-making in the context of unprecedented urban development.

Fahy has presented his research at interdisciplinary conferences such as SIEF (Zagreb), MESA (Washington DC) and CRASSH (Cambridge). At the Division of Social Anthropology, he has supervised students in social anthropology and HSPS (Human, Social and Political Sciences). Fahy is interested in the anthropology of ethics, religion, epistemology and emotion and seeks to build on his current interests within the framework of interfaith encounters.

The front cover of John's latest publication, Becoming Vaishnava in an Ideal Vedic City (Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books, 2019)



2019. Becoming Vaishnava in an Ideal Vedic City. Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books


2019 The Interfaith Movement: Mobilising Religious Diversity in the 21st Century. Routledge (Co-edited with Jan-Jonathan Bock)

2019 Emergent Religious Pluralisms. Palgrave MacMillan (Co-edited with Jan-Jonathan Bock & Samuel Everett)

2018 Interfaith on the World Stage. Special Issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Vol. 16 (3). (Co-edited with Jeffrey Haynes)

2018 Beyond Dialogue? Interfaith Engagement in Delhi, Doha and London. (Policy Report, co-authored with Jan-Jonathan Bock)


2019 'Samsara'. (Visual Essay). Anthropology Now. Vol 10(3), 93-105.

2018 The International Politics of Tolerance in the Persian Gulf. Religion, State & Society

2018 Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Managing Religious Diversity in Qatar. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. DOI: 

2018 Introduction: Interfaith on the World Stage. In ‘Interfaith on the World Stage'. Special Issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Vol. 16 (3): 1-8. (Co-authored with Jeffrey Haynes)

2018 International Relations and Faith-based Diplomacy: The Case of Qatar. In 'Interfaith on the World Stage'. Special Issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs,Vol. 16 (3): 76-88.

2018 The Constructive Ambiguity of Vedic Culture in ISKCON, Mayapur. Journal of Hindu Studies

2017 Learning to Love Krishna: A Living Theology of Moral Emotions. Ethnos. DOI: 

2017 Failing Well: Accommodating Vices in an Ideal Vedic City. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Vol. 7 (2): 331–350. DOI:

2014 Between Heaven and a Hard Place: Inhabiting the Space Between an Enchanted Past and an Ideal Future. The Unfamiliar Vol. 4 (1): 6-14. DOI:


2018. The Field of Interfaith in the Middle East. In Jim Walters (ed.), Religious Imaginations and Global Transitions: How Narratives of Faith Are Shaping Today's World. University of Chicago Press. 

2019. 'Introduction: Interfaith and Social Movement Theory' (with Jan-Jonathan Bock). In (eds.) John Fahy & Jan-Jonathan Bock, The Interfaith Movement: Mobilising Religious Diversity in the 21st Century. Routledge.

2019. 'Introduction'. (with Jan-Jonathan Bock). In (eds.) Jan-Jonathan Bock, John Fahy & Samuel Everett, Emergent Religious Pluralisms. Palgrave MacMillan.


2017. 'The Globalisation of Values and the Appropriation of Tolerance in the Arabian Peninsula'. Paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference in Washington DC.

2017. 'The Field of Interfaith in the Middle East'. Paper presented at the 'Religious Imaginations and Global Transitions' conference at the London School of Economics.

2017. 'International Relations and Faith-based Diplomacy: The Case of Qatar'. Paper presented at the annual Gulf Research Meeting at the University of Cambridge.

2016. 'Theology, Ethics and Community'. Paper presented at 'Worldwide Krishna Movement' conference at Harvard University.

2015. 'You have Inherited the Kingdom of God, Now Develop It; Imagining an Ideal Vedic City in Contemporary India'. Paper presented at 'Leadership, Authority and Legitimation in South Asia' conference at CRASSH, Cambridge.

2015. '(Story)telling the Past in an Ideal Vedic City'. Paper presented at the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference, Zagreb.

2014. 'Creating Culture'. Paper presented at 'Moving People, Changing Culture' conference (supported by the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Science) at Cardiff University.

2012. 'Smelly Music: Emotion and Belief in the Hare Krishna Temple'. Paper presented at the Department of Social Anthropology, Queen's University, Belfast.

Other Writing

2018 'Beyond Dialogue? Interfaith Engagement in Delhi, Doha and London', Woolf Institute blog (with J-J Bock)

2017 'The Politics of Interfaith Love in India', Woolf Institute blog

2016 'The Seeds of Interfaith', Woolf Institute blog

2016 'Interfaith and the Worldwide Krishna Movement', Woolf Institute blog

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