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Nathan Alexander
Junior Fellow
Max Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt (Germany)
Profile: My research has focused on the intersections between atheism, race, and empire in the modern west. I have a forthcoming book with the title, Race in a Godless World: Atheism, Race, and Civilization in Britain and the United States, 1850-1914. I am also interested in the historiography of atheism.

Dominik Balazka
PhD Student
University of Milan / University of Turin (Italy)
Profile: I am a PhD student in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research at the University of Milan and the University of Turin, a joint PhD program of the Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Studies. The main focus of my research activity is on religious nones, survey methods and potential impact of Big Data on the emerging field of non-religion studies. In particular, my PhD project proposes a text mining approach to the analysis of non-religious discourses in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1881 and 2020.

David Berman
Emeritus Professor
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
Profile: David Berman’s main work is his History of Atheism: from Hobbes to Russell (Croom Helm, 1988), reprinted in paperback by Routledge in 1990, reprinted in hardback in 2013. He has also edited Atheism in Britain, in 5 volumes, published by Thoemmes Press, in 1996.  His most recent publication in this area is ‘Why early atheists loved Berkeley’s idealism’, in Le Cabinet du Curieux, published by Classiques Garnier in 2013.

Gary Berton
Coordinator, Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College
Secretary, Thomas Paine National Historical Association
New York (USA)

David Biale
Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History
University of California, Davis (USA)
Profile: David Biale is the Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of California, Davis. He was educated at UC Berkeley, the Hebrew University and UCLA. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought (Princeton University Press, 2011). He is also the editor of Cultures of the Jews: A New History (Schocken Books, 2002) and the Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism (Norton, 2014). His books have won the National Jewish Book Award three times. Most recently, he won the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. He is currently the Project Director of an international team writing a History of Hasidism.

Timothy Binga
Director of Libraries
Center for Inquiry, Amherst, New York (USA)
Profile: Timothy Binga is the Director of Libraries at the Center for Inquiry, which include world-class collections on humanism, freethought, atheism, and skepticism. He has written for Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer, Encyclopedia of Time, the Dictionary of Early American Philosophers, and The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. His focus is on bibliography of unbelief, early American unbelief, and Robert Green Ingersoll.

Joseph Blankholm
Assistant Professor
University of California, Santa Barbara (USA)
Profile: My research focuses on organized nonbelievers and secular activists in the United States. I’m especially interested in their engagement with America’s courts and other branches of government, as well as the ways in which they distinguish between secular and religious. In another ongoing research project I consider the role that evangelicals play in catalyzing nonbeliever group and identity formation.

Tina Block
Assistant Professor
Thompson Rivers University (Canada)
Profile: Much of my research centres on the intersections between irreligon and region, with particular focus on the secular culture of the Pacific Northwest. More recently, I have started to explore the experience of unbelievers, and the interplay between class, gender, and belief, in postwar Canada. Director of ISHASH

Roderick Bradford
Editor-Publisher, The Truth Seeker
San Diego, CA (USA)
Profile: I am the author of D.M. Bennett: The Truth Seeker. In association with the Council for Secular Humanism and Center for Inquiry, I produced the four-part American Freethought film series about secularism and censorship in 2013. Currently I’m pursuing a posthumous pardon for free-speech martyr D.M. Bennett.

Keagan Brewer
Research Fellow (Macquarie University) and Honorary Research Associate (University of Sydney), Australia
Profile: My research focuses on the complex intersections between beliefs, disbeliefs, and emotions in medieval Europe. From 2021–24, I am engaged in a postdoctoral research project titled ‘Atheism, Repression, and Emotions in Medieval Europe’. The focus will be on how atheism formed part of the cultural dialogue, psychology, and emotions of medieval thinkers and writers.

Callum Brown
University of Glasgow (UK)
Profile: Callum Brown has studied secularisation for 30 years, and published ten books including The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation 1800-2000 (Routledge, 2001, 2009), Religion and the Demographic Revolution: Women and Secularisation in Canada, Ireland, UK and USA since the 1960s (Boydell, 2013). He is now researching how people lose religion using oral history and autobiography. His most recent book on this topic is Becoming Atheist: Humanism and the Secular West (Bloomsbury).

Stephen Bullivant
Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion
St Mary’s University (UK)
stephen.bullivant[at] / @SSBullivant (twitter)
Profile: Works on contemporary atheism/nonreligion (esp, UK, USA), and co-editor of The Cambridge History of Atheism (forthcoming; with Michael Ruse).

Christopher Cameron
Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (USA)
Profile: My latest book is entitled Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism. Here I examine the rise of black freethought, which runs the gamut from atheists to non-traditional beliefs such as Deism, during the era of slavery, its growth during the Harlem Renaissance, and its influence on African American politics and culture to the present day.

Gregory Claeys
Royal Holloway, University of London (UK)
Profile: Gregory Claeys is a historian of British radicalism and socialism from 1750 to the present and is the author of seven books and editor of some fifty volumes of primary sources. He has written studies of Robert Owen and Owenism, Thomas Paine, and John Stuart Mill. He is a member of the British Humanist Association.

Nickolas Conrad
Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, Santa Cruz (USA)
Profile: I study atheism in modern France during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am focused particularly on the loss of faith/deconversion narratives of freethinkers and defrocked priests during Third Republic France (1870-1940).

Bill Cooke
Teacher of philosophy and religious studies
Priestley College (UK)
Profile: Bill is a historian of atheism and humanism, with interest in the ongoing debate between religious and non-religious world-views. His books include A Rebel to His Last Breath: Joseph McCabe and Rationalism (Prometheus, 2001), and A Wealth of Insights: Humanist Thought Since the Enlightenment (Prometheus, 2011). He wrote 45 entries for the New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (Prometheus: 2006). He is also the Director of Transnational Programs for the Center for Inquiry.

Patrick Corbeil
Adjunct Instructor
Queen’s University (Canada)
Profile: My dissertation concerns the intellectual history of Victorian secularism in its global and imperial contexts. My fields of research include Britain and Empire in the long nineteenth century and early-modern European intellectual history with a focus on Enlightenment thought.

Angel Cortes
Associate Professor of History
Holy Cross College (USA)
Profile: Most of my work has been on the 19th century, focusing on the interface of science and religion as well as the history of colleges and universities and their intellectual life. I have published in Religious Studies Review, Choice, and the History of Intellectual Culture. My dissertation was titled, “Student Idealists and the Specter of Natural Science, 1870-1910,” PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2008. I am currently working on a study of American intellectual alienation during the Gilded Age.

Andrew Curran
William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities at Wesleyan University
Profile: I have written two books about Denis Diderot, the latter one entitled Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely. In my previous book, Anatomy of Blackness, I spent a great deal of time explaining how the birth of race was very much linked to the crystallization of racialized thought in the eighteenth century.

Niels De Nutte
Researcher and voluntary scientific collaborator
Union of Secular Associations – Vrije Universiteit, Brussels (Belgium)[at]
Profile: Niels De Nutte is an historian occupied with the history of postwar humanism and bio ethics. He is the co-editor of ‘Looking Back to Look Forward: Organised Humanism in the World: Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States of America, 1945-2005’. He was a scientific collaborator at the Centre for Academic and Secular Humanist Archives (CAVA).

Odin Dekkers
Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Profile: As the author of a monograph on the freethinker, journalist and literary critic John Mackinnon Robertson (1856-1933), I am particularly interested in the radical press of the second half of the nineteenth century and the intersections between freethought and literature. I am hoping to start a new project on literary criticism in the Secularist press soon.

Assistant Professor, University of Kent (UK)

Profile: I am interested in the history of atheism widely construed, and have specialised so far on 17th and 18th century atheist thinkers, notably Bayle, Meslier, d’Holbach, and Diderot. I am interested in the plurality of atheistic beliefs, the political consequences of an atheistic position, and the impact of these on social thought. I also have a particular interest in contemporary debates on toleration, both by and of atheists, and in engaging with the ‘new atheism.’ I am currently writing a book on ‘Radical Atheism’ that details the emergence of positive notions of atheism in French philosophical thought from the 17th century.

Stefan Dickers
Library and Archives Manager
Bishopsgate Institute, London (UK)
Profile: Stefan Dickers looks after the Bishopsgate Institute’s numerous collections on freethought and humanism, the history of London, the labour movement, co-operation, and protest and campaigning. He is also secretary of the Archives and Resources Committee of the Society for the Study of Labour History and the oral history consortium Britain at Work, 1945-1995. Stefan is also co-founder of the Network of Radical Libraries and Archives (NORLA), committee member of the Socialist History Society, and Co-Director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.

Lisa Dittrich
Assistant Professor
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany)
Profile: My research is focused on anticlericalism in 19th century Europe. Dealing with the transnational dimension of Church criticism my published PhD thesis (Antiklerikalismus in Europa. Öffentlichkeit und Säkularisierung in Frankreich, Spanien und Deutschland (1848-1914), Göttingen 2014) studies the complex relationship between anticlericalism, secularization, religious reform and secularism.

Stefan Fisher-Høyrem
Associate Professor
NLA Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication (Norway)
Profile: My research is located at the intersection of the history of technology and practice, theories of secularity, and political theology.

Victoria Frede
Associate Professor
University of California, Berkeley (USA)
Profile: Victoria Frede has worked on the history of doubt and atheism in Russia from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century. She is interested in the circulation of western European philosophical and theological treatises in Russia, as well as in the cultural and social meanings attached to anti-religious speech acts.

Bert Gasenbeek
University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht (The Netherlands)
Profile: Bert Gasenbeek (MA) is historian on the history of (Dutch) humanism, and director of Humanistic Historical Center.
He has published extensively on the history of Dutch humanism and is a well know speaker on the subject. He is one of the editors of the book International Humanist and Ethical Union 1952-2002. Past, present and future (2002).

Johannes Gleixner
Collegium Carolinum – Research Institute for the History of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Branch office Prague (Czech Republic/Germany)
Profile: I am interested in the history of non-religion in East and East Central Europe during the late 19th and early 20th century. In my PhD thesis (“Menschheitsreligionen”) I was interested in how religion and atheism interacted in revolutionary states, putting Soviet scientific atheism into a broader European context of entangling and disentangling religion and politics.

Christopher Grasso
College of William & Mary (USA)
Profile: In 2018 I published a book called Skepticism and American Faith: From the Revolution to the Civil War, small pieces of which had appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic and the Journal of American History.

Heidi Hakkarainen
University of Turku (Finland)
Profile: I am interested in humanism, nineteenth-century press and history of emotions. My research focuses on the history of humanism in the early nineteenth-century German-speaking Europe. I am especially interested in the ways in which emotions and their meanings were discussed in the debates on humanism and humanity in the German-language popular press before, during and after the 1848-49 revolutions.

Kimberly Hamlin
Associate Professor
Miami University (USA)
Profile: Kimberly Hamlin’s book, From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2014) analyzes how American women utilized evolutionary arguments for feminist purposes. For many, evolutionary theory bolstered their agnosticism/atheism and encouraged their involvement with the Freethought movement. Hamlin’s current project tells the larger story of U.S. women’s rights history through the eyes of one of its most fascinating leaders, the freethinking feminist Helen Hamilton Gardener.

Elliot Hanowski
Library Assistant
University of Manitoba (Canada)
Profile: My dissertation research, which I am revising for publication, was on unbelief and religious controversy in Canada between the world wars, with a particular focus on organized rationalism and anti-clericalism.

Jonny Hjelm
Professor of History
Umeå University (Sweden)
Profile: My current research project is “Pro-secular organizations in Sweden 1880-2010.” This study will describe and analyse pro-secular organizations in Sweden 1880-2010. The term “pro-secular” refers to organisations that fought for greater freedom of beliefs and state neutrality in religious issues. In previous research they have been ignored as marginal groups and their members as uninteresting “militant atheists”. The aim is to gain knowledge about the country`s secularisation and how pro-secular organisations contributed to Sweden becoming one of the worlds most secular countries, but also provide knowledge about historical and contemporary secularisation, and support research that has sought to highlight and defend respectful dialogue on life area.

Michael Hunter
Emeritus Professor
Birkbeck, University of London (UK)
Profile: I have long been interested in the history of early modern atheism, perhaps particularly the interrelationship between irreligion and contemporary perceptions of it. Recently, I have discovered and published an overtly atheistic text attributed to the Scottish intellectual, Archibald Pitcairne (1652-1713).

Leo Igwe
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Bayreuth (Germany)
Profile: My research is focused on witchcraft accusation among the Dagomba in Northern Ghana. I am currently writing my dissertation on how accused persons respond to allegations of witchcraft. I am also interested in the emergence of atheism/unbelief as well as the relationship between secularism and religion in Africa

Anton Jansson
PhD, Researcher
University of Gothenburg (Sweden)
anton.jansson[at] / @antnlj (twitter)
Profile: I am interested in religion and secularization in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially the history of atheism and secularism. From 2021, I am working on a project funded by the Swedish Research Council called “Visions of a Society without God: The History of Atheism in Sweden 1879-1968”. Director of ISHASH.

Suvi Karila
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Turku (Finland)
Profile: In my dissertation I study the intersection of gender and irreligiousness in the nineteenth-century United States, focusing especially on the experiences of atheist women.

Carolin Kosuch
University of Göttingen (Germany)
Profile: I am a historian of secularism, religious nonconformity, and anarchism with a special interest in European freethinkers in the nineteenth century. I am the editor of a volume on freethinkers and secularities from a historical perspective asking how early secularists like Europe’s freethinkers added to our current notion of the secular (Secularities Transnational. Freethinkers in the Context of National Movements and the Rise of Nation States in Europe, 1789−1930s, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, to be published in 2020).

Timothy Larsen
Wheaton College (USA)
Profile: I am interested in the reasons given and arguments made for and against religious belief and specific doctrines or aspects of Christian thought, not least reasons for the gaining, loss, or regaining of such convictions, in the English-speaking world, especially Britain, in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Ernils Larsson
Ph.D. candidate
Uppsala University (Sweden)
Profile: In my dissertation I analyze the categories of “religion” and “secular” in Supreme Court rulings in post-war Japan, focusing in particular at “common sense” assumptions about Shinto as a non-religion. My other research interests include the interactions between politics and Shinto and the role of religion in modern Japanese nationalism.

Daniel Linford
Visiting Instructor
Christopher Newport University (USA)
Profile: I am primarily interested in the relationship between value and debates over God’s existence. I am also interested in the connection between atheism and the early-modern contestation of religious language.

Rosario López
Assistant Professor
University of Málaga (Spain)
Profile: My research concerns the history of political liberalism in Victorian Britain. Having previously written my dissertation on John Stuart Mill, at the moment I am studying the links between Richard Cobden’s economic and political ideas and his cosmopolitan pacifism.

Felicity Loughlin
Research Fellow
University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
Profile: My current research explores the history of freethinking, heterodoxy and unbelief in early nineteenth-century Scotland. Fuelled by concerns over the French Revolution, the sale of radical books, and the emergence of free-thinking societies, Christian commentators of the period frequently expressed their anxieties over the rise of ‘infidelity’. Yet very little is known about the nature of unbelief in this period and the debates surrounding it. My research on this topic forms part of the collaborative Leverhulme project: After the Enlightenment: Scottish Intellectual Life, c. 1790-1843. 

Diego Lucci
Professor of Philosophy and History
American University in Bulgaria (Bulgaria)
Profile: Diego Lucci’s research concentrates on the philosophy of the Enlightenment, particularly on deism. His publications include the monograph Scripture and Deism: The Biblical Criticism of the Eighteenth-Century British Deists (Lang, 2008) and the co-edited volume Atheism and Deism Revalued: Heterodox Religious Identities in Britain, 1650-1800 (Ashgate, 2014).

Liz Lutgendorff
Ph.D. Candidate
Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Profile: My research investigates the idea of the UK secular movement after the 1880s – looking at the secularists involved in politics, peace and women’s suffrage to 1930.

Lynne Marks
Associate Professor
University of Victoria (Canada)
Profile: Lynne Marks’ research interests include a focus on atheism, irreligion and unbelief in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Pacific Northwest, focusing particularly on British Columbia.  She is particularly interested in how questions of unbelief intersect with race, gender and class in the region.

Patrick Seamus McGhee
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
Durham University
@patricksmcg (twitter)
Profile: My research explores the relationship between atheism, theology, medicine, and science in the early modern world. My current project is entitled, ‘The Anatomy of Atheism in the Atlantic World, c. 1600-1800′. I am also preparing a monograph, based upon my doctoral thesis, focusing on the Protestant concept of ‘heathenism’ in early modern Britain and the Americas.

Assistant Professor
George Mason University (USA)
Profile: I am a historian of American religions in the nineteenth century. I am currently writing a history of people who switched between religions tentatively titled The Varieties of Religious Conversion: The Origins of Religious Choice in the United States.
(See also Lincoln’s helpful blog post on the historiography of American irreligion.)

David Nash
Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Profile: David Nash has written published and spoken extensively on the history of Secularism in Britain. He has a special interest in the history of blasphemy (his last monograph on the subject was Blasphemy in the Christian World) and continues to publish in this area. He has given extensive advice to governments and NGOs in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom on contemporary blasphemy laws and issues.

Katharina Neef
Lecturer and researcher
University of Leipzig (Germany)
Profile: I did my dissertation on the influences of freethought on the institutionalisation of academic sociology in Germany. Therefore, I have done research on the monist movement of the early 20th century. I have broadened my focus to a European scale and to cooperating and networking social reform movements. Furthermore, I do research on ethical and moral education as counterpart of religious education in public schools.

Martin Pácha
PhD Student
Charles University (Czech Republic)
Profile: I am a PhD Student at the Department of Czech History, Faculty of Arts. My research focuses on the history of illegal churches and state-socialist atheism in Czechoslovakia circa 1948-1989. I am especially interested in the processes of establishing atheistic strategies and production of atheistic knowledge.

Jeremy Patrick
University of Southern Queensland (Australia)
Profile: My work concerns the intersection of law and religion. Specifically, I’m interested in legal restrictions on the establishment of religion, religious guarantees of religious freedom, blasphemy laws, and more.   Presently, I’m writing a book on the interaction of freedom of religion guarantees with legal restrictions on fortune-telling, witchcraft, and individual spirituality.

Laura Pettinaroli
Associate Professor
Catholic University of Paris
Profile: My main fields of research are religious history and international history. My PhD focused on the Vatican diplomacy (La politique russe du Saint-Siège 1905-1939, Ecole française de Rome, 2015) and I am currently studying the proletarian freethinker movement in Europe (especially in France) during the Interwar period.

Martin Priestman
University of Roehampton (UK)
Profile: Martin Priestman is the author of Romantic Atheism: Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and articles on Shelley’s prose and the reception of the atheist poet Lucretius in the 18th and 19th centuries. His work on the evolutionist scientist-poet Erasmus Darwin includes various editions and The Poetry of Erasmus Darwin: Enlightened Spaces, Romantic Times (Ashgate, 2013).

Ethan G. Quillen
PhD Candidate
University of Edinburgh (UK)
Profile: While my PhD thesis focused exclusively on the use of fiction as an ethnographic source of Atheism, my wider interests on the topic have turned from trying to define the term, to a discursive analysis about how ‘Atheism’ is used within particular contexts. This varies quite usefully from judicial discourses (such as the use of the term in Supreme Court cases) to aesthetic discourses (such as how ‘Atheism’ is manifested within the language of popular sources such as films, novels, and art).

Michael Rectenwald
New York University (USA)
Profile: Michael Rectenwald is a professor in Global Liberal Studies at NYU. His articles on secularism have appeared in several journals and anthologies. His newest work reflects a revision of our understanding of Secularism in connection with Charles Taylor’s reconceptualization of secularity. This will be reflected in his forthcoming monograph, Nineteenth-Century British Secularism: Science, Religion and Literature, and an edited volume, Global Secularisms in a Post-Secular Age.

James Bryant Reeves
Assistant Professor of English
Texas State University (USA)
Profile: My main research specialty is eighteenth-century British literature. More broadly, I am interested in Anglicanism, religion and secularization, religious satire, hymnody, and the relationship between doubt/skepticism and religious belief. Addressing several of these topics, my first book, Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2020), outlines a literary history of atheism in eighteenth-century Britain.

Atko Remmel
Researcher of Church History
University of Tartu (Estonia)
Profile: My research interests include religious policy and atheism in the Soviet Union (particularly  in Estonia ) and the evolution of different atheist traditions. I’m interested in contemporary developments as well.

Charles Louis Richter
Ph.D. Candidate
The George Washington University (USA)
Profile: I am a historian of US religions writing a dissertation on nativist responses in the United States to the idea of atheism and irreligion in the 20th century. I explore how Americans have connected atheism with what they perceive as threatening, foreign ideologies.

Edward Royle
Professor Emeritus
University of York (UK)
Profile: I began my research in the 1960s with a PhD thesis on George Jacob Holyoake and the Origins of Secularism, which was later expanded as Victorian Infidels, 1791-1866 (MUP 1974) and was followed by Radicals, Secularists and Republicans (MUP 1980) which took the story up to the death of G. W. Foote in 1915. I have also published several chapters and articles on Holyoake, Bradlaugh (both of whose papers I catalogued) and other leaders as well as British radical freethought in general in addition to my other studies of Owenism, Chartism and works on British radical, religious and social history since the eighteenth century.

Alexandros Sakellariou
Adjunct Lecturer of Sociology
Hellenic Open University (Greece)
Alexandros Sakellariou earned his PhD in Sociology of Religion at Panteion University in 2008, and now works as a teacher and researcher. His main research interests include among others, sociology of religion and atheism (religious communities, religious identities), sociology of youth, radicalisation and qualitative research methods. He has published two books, both in Greek, Religion and pandemic in Greek society: Power relations, religious populism and the pending secularization, iWrite Publications (2020) and Atheism in Greek society: From Orthodox religious memory to the atheist religious consciousness, Papazisis Publications (2021).  

Inga Sanner
Stockholm University (Sweden)
Profile: In her work on Swedish intellectual history in the 19th and 20th century, Inga Sanner has written extensively on freethought, secularisation and alternative religion. At the moment, she is working on a book project on profane religiosity.

Leigh Schmidt
John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics,
Washington University (USA)[at]
Profile: I am interested in the history of atheism, secularism and humanism, especially in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Stefan Schröder
Senior research associate
University of Bayreuth (Germany)
Profile: I am interested in contemporary developments of humanist and atheist organizations and the institutionalization of freethought, especially in Germany, Europe and the US. Moreover, I like to trace back these phenomena in history and explore different cultures of secularity from a Study of Religion perspective. In my dissertation “Freigeistige Organisationen in Deutschland. Weltanschauliche Entwicklungen und strategische Spannungen nach der humanistischen Wende” (De Gruyter 2018), I analyze the current situation of internal tensions between secular humanist organziations in Germany.

Laura Schwartz
Assistant Professor
University of Warwick (UK)
Profile: Laura Schwartz’s book Infidel Feminism: Secularism, Religion and Women’s Emancipation, England 1830-1914 (Manchester University Press, 2013) examines the emergence of the concept of secularism in Britain in the 19th and early 20th century. It argues that secularism was forged within an antagonistic but also symbiotic relationship with British forms of Protestantism. Also that gender, and questions of women’s rights more specifically, were from the very start central to the formation of modern definitions of secularism and religion.

Matt Sheard
Ph.D. Candidate
Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Profile: I’m researching whether and how changes in parenting, particularly in relation to religious belief and practise, could have contributed to the growth of atheism and irreligiosity in 20th century Britain. Autobiographies, oral histories, diaries, and interviews, provide the primary sources for this project.

John R. Shook
Research Associate in Philosophy and Instructor in Science Education
University at Buffalo, New York (USA)
Profile: My research focuses on American intellectual history, and the history of freethought, secularism, atheism, and naturalism back to the Greeks. I also explore ‘atheology’ which explains and defends atheism.

Daniel Silliman
Ph.D. Candidate and Instructor of American religion and culture
Heidelberg University (Germany)
Profile: My research is focused on the cultural practices of belief in the United States. I am currently writing my dissertation on how belief and the conditions for belief are imagined in contemporary evangelical fiction. I am also interested in the historical development of 20th century atheisms in America.

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock
Assistant Professor
Wesleyan University (USA)
Profile: Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock’s work explores the role that atheism and secularism played in the Communist project. Her forthcoming book, A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: The Spiritual Life of Soviet Atheism is about how the Soviet experience with “scientific atheism” transformed the political understanding of the state’s role in spiritual life. She is also working on a book about the religious question in Cold War politics.

Ramón Soneira Martínez
Research fellow / PhD student
Max Weber-Kolleg, University of Erfurt (Germany)
Profile: My research is focused on the concept of unbelief and atheism as a historical phenomena in the background of Religious Studies. My principal interests are related to the Ancient World, especially Ancient Greece, but also to other religious and historical contexts. I am doing my PhD in the framework of the International Graduate School: “Resonant Self–World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices” in cooperation with the University of Graz, Austria.

Claus Spenninger
Research Fellow / Project Coordinator
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (Germany)
Profile: I am a historian of science and religion focusing on 19th century scientific materialism. Currently I am preparing my dissertation for publication. It is titled “Stoff für Konflikt. Fortschrittsdenken und Religionskritik im naturwissenschaftlichen Materialismus des 19. Jahrhunderts, 1847-1881”. I am especially interested in the emergence of conflict narratives and the public nature of science/religion-debates.

Christoph De Spiegeleer
Research Fellow
Liberaal Archief/Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)
Profile: Christoph De Spiegeleer was educated at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Leiden. His research interests include the 19th-century history of liberalism and secularism. He is the author of a monograph on the Belgian freethinker Charles Potvin (1818-1902). His current research focuses on the relationship between funerary culture and secularization. He wrote his PhD about funerals of political and royal elites in Belgium between 1830 and 1940. He is currently engaged as Research Fellow of the Liberaal Archief, a recognized archive and documentation centre on the history of liberalism and freethought in Belgium.

Clare Stainthorp
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2021-23)
Queen Mary University of London
Profile: My current project, ‘Reading the Freethought Movement: Atheism, Agnosticism, and Secularism, 1866–1907’, focuses on how nineteenth-century freethought periodicals sustained and grew this radical movement. My book, Constance Naden: Scientist, Philosopher and Poet (2019), is the first full-length study of a lesser-known but nonetheless important atheist thinker of the late Victorian period.

John Stenhouse
Associate Professor
University of Otago (New Zealand)
Profile: John Stenhouse teaches intellectual history, the history of science, European and New Zealand history at the University of Otago. His research interests centre on nineteenth century science, religion, secularism, race, gender, politics and their interconnections.

Paul Watt
Senor Lecturer, Musicology
Monash University (Australia)
Profile: Paul Watt has published on the influence of the late nineteenth-century freethinkers on the career and writings of the English music critic, Ernest Newman (1868–1959). Paul is currently working on a new project, ‘Musical expressions of Auguste Comte’s positive philosophy in nineteenth-century music’ looking especially at the hymns of Malcolm Quin (1855–1945).

Todd Weir
Associate Professor History of Christianity and Modern Culture
University of Groningen (the Netherlands)[at]
Profile: My research concerns facets of secularist culture in modern Germany and Europe. I published a volume on monism as the essential worldview of most modern atheists and a monograph on secularism as a political and social formation of the nineteenth century. I’m now working on the transnational history of encounters between socialism and religion in the twentieth century.

Stephen Weldon
Associate Professor, History of Science,
University of Oklahoma (USA)
Profile: My book The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) chronicles the rise and development of humanism in America over the twentieth century, focusing on the role that science played in the movement. As a historian of science, I am especially interested in the various ways that science and religion intersected in American culture. Humanism, with its complex relationship to religion helps to break down a number of stereotypes.

Tim Whitmarsh
AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture
University of Cambridge (UK)
Profile: Tim Whitmarsh is a specialist in the literature, culture and thought of ancient Greece. He is the author of, among other books, Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World (New York: Knopf, 2015; London: Faber and Faber, 2016).

Matthew Wilson
Assistant Professor
Ball State University (USA)
Profile: Matthew Wilson is an intellectual historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century spatial design and the built environment. He is the author of Moralising Space: The Utopian Urbanism of the British Positivists, 1855-1920 (2018).

David Wootton
University of York (UK)
Profile: David Wootton has worked extensively on early modern unbelief, most recently Galileo (2010), and has a future project on secularisation from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

Susannah Wright
Senior Lecturer
Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Profile: I am a senior lecturer in education studies at Oxford Brookes University. I am researching the contributions of secularists and humanists to education in British schools in the early twentieth century, with a particular focus on moral instruction and citizenship. This research has informed a monograph recently published by Palgrave Macmillan: Morality and citizenship in English schools, secular approaches 1897-1944.

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International Society for Historians of Atheism, Secularism, and Humanism

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