Dr Méadhbh McIvor has been appointed Assistant Professor in Religion, Law, and Human Rights at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen from September 2017. Dr McIvor, who comes from Ireland, previously taught social anthropology at University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE).
Méadhbh was excited when she first heard about the position in Groningen
When I read the job title – Assistant Professor in Religion, Law, and Human Rights – I almost couldn't believe it. It was like it had been designed with me in mind. I had just spent five years researching the interaction of law, religion and human rights for my PhD, and my primary teaching responsibilities at UCL were focused on these areas, too. The more I read about the position, the more it seemed like a perfect fit.’
To cut a long story short, Méadhbh McIvor turned out to be the right candidate and was selected for the position! She will be based at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, where she will join the Department of Christianity and the History of Ideas. ‘Here I will be designing two new course units for the first semester: an undergraduate course unit called “Law and Religion: Anthropological Approaches”, and a Master’s course unit called “Religion and the Politics of Human Rights.” I'll also be co-teaching some of the religion and politics course units already running in the Department’, she comments.
‘I'm a social anthropologist with a particular interest in where law and religion intersect, and I've carried out long-term fieldwork with conservative Christian communities in London, UK. My research focuses on the ways in which these Christians engage with the public sphere, particularly its legal dimensions. I have also written about the myriad ways the category “religion” is understood or imagined in different contexts, ranging from the European Court of Human Rights to the “religious” emoji on our phones. In terms of my academic aims, my current goal is to write a monograph based on my PhD research. Once I've finished this book, I'd like to start doing fieldwork among conservative Christians in the United States. I'm particularly interested in exploring evangelical political engagement in the age of Trump.’
What is Méadhbh most looking forward to? ‘Collaborating with my new colleagues, particularly in the Department and at the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalisation (CRCG)
. There are so many wonderful scholars at the UG, working on really interesting and important issues: the meaning of secularism; the politics of difference; how to respond to conflict. I happen to be arriving just as the CRCG celebrates its fifth anniversary. This means I'm just in time for its jubilee conference “Reimagining Difference: Being, Thinking and Practicing Beyond Essentialism”, which is running from 13-15 September. I'm really pleased to be able to participate in what is going to be a fantastic event.’
‘I'm excited to be joining a Faculty which boasts such a diversity of expertise. There is so much cutting-edge research going on at the UG, and one of the things I find most exciting is the fact that this isn’t just ivory tower stuff. Rather, it focuses on some of the pressing issues of our time, such as how to approach difference in plural societies; how to navigate multiple conceptions of the good; what concepts like “tolerance” and “diversity” actually mean in practice, and whether or not they are as benign as we often like to think. There are lots of conversations at the UG that I’m looking forward to joining! The University also has an international feel and a large number of international staff, which will make the transition to Groningen after ten years in London a little easier.’ The Faculty warmly welcomes Méadhbh!
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