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Galen Watts

Non-stipendiary PhD Scholar


Galen Watts will be a visiting scholar at the Woolf Institute for the duration of the Lent term 2019. He is completing a PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen's University in Canada under the supervision of Dr Will Kymlicka, and is currently a visiting student in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge working with Dr Tim Jenkins. He has completed an undergraduate degree in Drama/Philosophy and a Master's in Cultural Studies.

Galen's research interests include religion, culture, and politics - specifically, how they interact discursively and practically in contemporary society. He is also interested in the sources of belonging, solidarity and meaning in modernity, and how these influence levels of well-being and justice in liberal democracies.

His current research project aims to map and assess the socio-political implications of what has been variously called 'self', 'holistic' and/or 'contemporary' spirituality. He has recently undertaken qualitative research consisting of interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with Canadian millennials in order to better understand the nature of spirituality, as it is expressed and practiced by this cohort.

For more on his research and other writings please visit his website:

Key Publications

"Missing the Forest for the Trees: 'Spiritual' Religion in a Secular Age", Toronto Journal of Theology, Advance Online (2019)

"On the Politics of Self-Spirituality: A Canadian Case Study", Studies in Religion 47:3 (2018): 345-372. 

"'Of' or 'For': The Study of Spirituality and the Problems Therein", The Journal for the Study of Spirituality 7:1 (2017): 64-71.


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