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Professor Eleanor Nesbitt

Eleanor Nesbitt MA (Cantab) M Phil PhD PGCE

Professor Emeritus
Department of Education Studies
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL



Eleanor Nesbitt is Professor Emeritus.

Eleanor belongs to a number of research networks in Europe and beyond including:

  • British Association for the Study of Religion
  • Punjab Research Group (Founder member)

She gave the Swarthmore Lecture 2003, The Annual SACRE lecture in Redbridge in 1992 and in Truro in 2000 and has lectured/spoken at conferences in Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the USA. She speaks on the radio and acts as consultant for radio and television programmes as well as for publishers and solicitors.

Eleanor is on the editorial board of Fieldwork in Religion and Religions of South Asia .

Research Projects

Eleanor is a specialist in the religious socialisation of young people of Christian, Hindu and Sikh background, and in qualitative research methods. She has been the researcher for:

  • Formal Hindu Nurture, (funded by the University of Warwick)
  • Hindu Nurture in Coventry, (funded by the Leverhulme Trust)
  • Punjabi Hindu Nurture, (funded by the Leverhulme Trust)
  • Ethnography and Religious Education (Christian and Sikh nurture), (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council)
  • A Longitudinal Study of Young British Hindus’ Perceptions of their Religious Tradition, (funded by the Leverhulme Trust)

She co-directed three projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board:

  • Fostering Spirituality in Late Modernity: Brahma Kumaris in the UK
  • Assessing the Approach of Sathya Sai Baba's Followers to Young People's Spiritual and Moral Development
  • Investigating the Religious Identity Formation of Young People in Mixed Faith Families'.

Another recent research project was

  • Interrogating the experience of Quaker scholars in Hindu and Sikhs studies: spiritual journeying and academic engagement.

Curriculum Development Project

Eleanor contributed as ethnographer to the Warwick RE Project.


Her books include:

a) Scholarship

Sikh: Two Centuries of Western Women’s Art and Writing, London: Kashi House, forthcoming 2020.

Sikhism A Very Short Introduction, 2nd revised edition 2016, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Pool of Life: The Autobiography of a Punjabi Agony Aunt (with Kailash Puri), Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2013.

Intercultural Education: Ethnographic and Religious Approaches, Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2004.

Interfaith Pilgrims: Living Truths and Truthful Living, London, Quaker Books, 2003.

The Religious Lives of Sikh Children: a Coventry-Based Study, Leeds, Community Religions Project, University of Leeds, 2000. Available at:

Guru Nanak (with Gopinder Kaur) Norwich, Religious and Moral Education Press, 1999, e-book 2019.

Sikhs in Britain: An Annotated Bibliography (with D.S.Tatla) Coventry, Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick, 2nd revised edition 1994.

Hindu Children in Britain (with R.Jackson) Stoke on Trent, Trentham, 1993.

b) Poetry

Gemini Four (co-edited with Ian Florance) London, Only Connect, 2011

Making Nothing Happen: Five Poets Explore Faith and Spirituality (with Gavin D'Costa, Mark Pryce, Ruth Shelton and Nicola Slee) Aldershot, Ashgate, 2014.

Her recent publications include:

Nesbitt, E. (2019) "‘Woman Seems to Be Given Her Proper Place”’: Western Women’s Encounter with Sikh Women 1809–2012’ in the online journal Religions as part of the Special issue on Exploring gender and Sikh traditions.

Nesbitt, E. 2015 '"The Fools Argue about Flesh and Meat": Sikhism and Vegetarianism', Religions of South Asia, 9 (1) , 81-101.

Nesbitt, E. (2012) ‘Sikhism’ in M. Cobb, C. Puchalski and B. Rumbold (eds) Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 89-96.

Nesbitt, E. (2012 ‘Hinduism and Sikhism’ in K. A. Jacobsen (ed.) Brill Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, vol 4, Leiden: Brill, 573-587.

Nesbitt, E. (2011) ‘Sikh Diversity in the UK: Contexts and Evolution’ in K. A. Jacobsen and K. Myrvold (eds) Sikhs in Europe: Migration, Identities and Representations, Aldershot: Ashgate, 225-252.

Nesbitt, E. (2010) Interrogating the Experience of Quaker Scholars in Hindu and Sikh Studies: Spiritual Journeying and Academic Engagement, Quaker Studies, 14 (2), 134-158.

Nesbitt, E. and Arweck, E. (2010) Issues arising from an Ethnographic Investigation of the Religious Identity Formation of Young People in Mixed-faith Families, Fieldwork in Religion, 5 (1), 7-30.

Full list of publications(Word Document)



Quaker Studies Research Association

Listen to Eleanor's 'Top ten things you should know about Sikhism' here:

Faith Guides for Higher Education: Sikhism

A podcast of Eleanor speaking on the Beyond Belief programme on Women in Sikhism on 14 January 2013 can be accessed here

'Begging' on Beyond Belief 28 August 2017

30-Minute Expert Podcast - become an expert on Sikhism in 30 minutes.