Professor in Social & Political Theology
BA, University of New Brunswick, Canada
MDiv (honours), Trinity College, University of Toronto
PhD (Theology), St. Michael 's College, University of Toronto
Habermas and Theology (You Tube)
On Marx, Marxism, and Theology (YouTube)
Theology and Western Marxism (YouTube)
Prior to joining the staff in Aberdeen in 2007, Prof. Brittain was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Canada. He is an ordained minister in the Anglican tradition, and completed his PhD at the University of Toronto.
In 2016-17, Prof. Brittain is also a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies,
University of Vienna.
In addition to continuing to work on articles analysing the writings of the early Frankfurt School on religion and theology, I am currently completing two research projects, while preparing to begin a third:
I. The Tensions in the Anglican Communion
This project analyses the nature of the ongoing conflict within the global Anglican Communion, a conflict that has played out both within and between the different Provinces of the Communion. Although the conflict has often been presented (particularly in the press) as a dispute over sexual norms, preliminary inverstigations suggest that, while homosexuality is a focus of the conflict, it is to a large degree a 'presenting symptom' for other issues and tensions.
II. Interfaith Partnership
In February 2015, I began a new research project: 'Inter-Religious Partnership: A Case Study from Aberdeen'. This compromises a field-based study of a partnership between a Christian church and a Muslim mosque, which will follow the two communities through Lent and Ramadan.
III. Power and Powerlessness
The project ‘Power and Powerlessness’ (to begin in 2016) is a theological study of the concept of power. Many scholars have observed that the concept of power remains contested and often neglected. The absence of a theoretical grasp of the concept is even more striking in Christian theology. Churches in the Global North evidence considerable discomfort over the idea of power: to avoid the charge of colonial imposition of their worldview; due to conflicts over authority within the churches; or to dissociate from the dominant political order. In the Global South, however, the vibrant Neo-Pentecostal and Charismatic movements celebrate the immediacy of the ‘power of the Spirit’. What needs to be better understood, therefore, are the resources contained within the Christian tradition to make sense of competing claims about the nature and significance of power, particularly given that existing literature does not often address these issues in a sustained manner.
In addition to these primary projects, I will participate in the following conferences in 2016:
'The Global South and the Conflict over Homosexuality in the Anglican Communion: A Critical Sociology Perspective' (Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, University of Toronto, 6 April)
Speaking of God in a Time of Crisis: Religion as Ground Zero (University of Vienna, 18 Oct)
(2009-10) Fellowship - Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations
(2008-09) College of Arts and Social Sciences Research Grant, University of Aberdeen
(2006-07) Fellowship - Wabash Centre for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
I am a member of the editorial board of the book series: Studies in Critical Research on Religion (Brill) and of the journal Critical Research on Religion (Sage).
Former external examiner: King's College London (MA in Theology and Ministry); Christliche Theologie Lebensnah (CTL) in Germany & Switzerland (for Middlesex Univeristy).
Chair, Faith and Order Committee, Episcopal Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney
Core member, Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL)
Member of the University Senate, and Senate Assessor on the University Court (Board of Governors)
Undergraduate Programme Coordinator (Theology & Religious Studies)
Website Coordinator (Theology & Religious Studies)
Religion at Ground Zero (DR1540)
What Does it Mean to be Human? (DR1045)
Justice and Reconciliation (DR352K/452K)
Religion, Secularism, and Public Life (DR352L/452L)
Global Issues, Global Religions (SK1017)
Classic Texts in the Philosophy of Religion (PH305K/PH405K)
Christian Practices (DR553M)
I am interested in supervising research projects on topics such as the following: Political Theology, Social Ethics, Church Conflict, Congregational Studies, Continental Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Disaster, Religion in Secular Societies, and Anglican Theology.
Some of my current PhD students include: