Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor Stephen Parker

Professor Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker is Professor of the History of Religion and Education at the University of Worcester.

Having had a successful 11-year teaching career spanning primary and sixth form education, Stephen completed a doctorate in religious history in 2003. He has held posts combining his specialisms in theology, religious education, and teacher education at the universities of Chester and Worcester, leading postgraduate taught and doctoral programmes in education. He has supervised several doctoral students to successful completion on topics as diverse as the history of religious in Wales to leadership in early childhood settings. Stephen’s principal research interests lie in the religious history of education and childhood, but he is also published in church history and the philosophy and sociology of religion. Stephen has been an Associate Fellow at Warwick since 2008.

Stephen has recently completed a Leverhulme-Trust funded project at Worcester entitled ‘Faith on the Air: a religious educational broadcasting history’, a summative monograph which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2018, and entitled Religious Education in British Broadcasting: a history. Stephen has now begun follow-up work on the broader aspects of educational broadcasting, with Dr Rachel Moseley at Warwick’s Centre for Television Histories

Stephen has also recently completed a funded interdisciplinary research project with Professor Leslie Francis, Director of WRERU (funded jointly by the St. Peter’s Saltley Trust and the St. Gabriel’s Trust), which investigated students’ motivation for studying A-level Religious Studies and the effects of doing so upon their values, attitudes and worldviews. Work drawing upon this has been published, as listed below.

Stephen has an ongoing research collaborations with Dr Rob Freathy (Exeter) on the ‘hidden history of RE’, and with Professors Friedrich Schweitzer (Tubingen) and Henrik Simojoki (Bamburgh), concerned with the professionalisation of RE teachers in England and Germany in comparative perspective.

Stephen is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education and senior series editor for Peter Lang’s Religion, Education and Values series of volumes. Stephen is an editorial board member for the journal Practical Theology, Vice-President of the History of Education Society (UK), Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Member of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values.

Recent selected publications:

Books and edited volumes:

Parker, S.G., Freathy R.J.K. and Francis, L.J. (eds) (2012). Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief. Bern: Peter Lang.

Parker, S.G., Freathy R.J.K., Francis, L.J., (eds) (2014). History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Bern: Peter Lang.

Strhan, A., Parker, S.G., and Ridgley, S. (2017) The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood. London: Bloomsbury.

Chapters in books:

Freathy, R.J.K., Parker, S.G. and Doney, J. Raiders of the Lost Archive: searching for the hidden history of Religious Education in English schools. In In Parker, S.G., Freathy R.J.K. and Francis, L.J. (eds) (2014). History, Remembrance and Religious Education. Oxford: Peter Lang

Parker, S.G. Creating and preserving a ‘community of the air’: the BBC’s ‘Religious Service for Schools’, ‘Come and Praise’, continuity and change in the musical aesthetic and religious discourse around the child in the late twentieth century. In Strhan, A., Parker, S.G., and Ridgley, S. (2017) The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood London: Bloomsbury.

Parker, S.G. Classrooms as spaces of everyday religious and moral education and socialization. In Strhan, A., Parker, S.G., and Ridgley, S. (2017) The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood London: Bloomsbury.

Parker, S.G. and Freathy, R.J.K Childhood, Faith and the Future: religious education and ‘national character’ in the Second World War. In Strhan, A., Parker, S.G., and Ridgley, S. (2017) The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood London: Bloomsbury.

Journal articles:

Parker, S.G. and Freathy, R.J.K. (2012) ‘Ethnic diversity, Christian hegemony and the emergence of multi-faith religious education in the 1970s’, History of Education, 41:3, 381–404.

Freathy, R.J.K and Parker, S.G. (2013). ‘Secularists, Humanists and Religious Education: religious crisis and curriculum change in England, 1963-1975’, History of Education, 42:2, 222-257.

Parker, S.G. (2015) ‘Mediatising childhood religion: the BBC, John G. Williams and collective worship for schools in England, 1940-1975’, Paedagogica Historica: international journal of the history of education, 51:5, 614-630.

Freathy, R.J.K. and Parker, S.G. (2015) ‘Prospects and Problems for Religious Education in England, 1967-1970: curriculum reform in political context’, Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education, 36:1, 5-30.

Parker, S.G., Doney, J., and Freathy, R.J.K. (2016) ‘The Professionalisation of Non-Denominational Religious Education in England: politics, organisation and knowledge’. Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education 37:2, 201-238.

Doney, J., Parker, S.G., and Freathy, R.J.K. (2016) Enriching the historiography of Religious Education: insights from oral life history, History of Education, online first.

Freathy, R. J.K., Parker, S.G., Schweitzer, F., Simojoki, H. (2016) ‘Professionalism, Professionalization and Professionality in Religious Education’ British Journal of Religious Education, 38(2), 111-113.

Freathy, R. J.K., Parker, S.G., Schweitzer, F., Simojoki, H. (2016) ‘Conceptualising and researching the professionalisation of Religious Education teachers: historical and international perspectives’, British Journal of Religious Education, 38(2), 114-129.

Full publications list

stephen_parker_portrait.jpg