Sian Taylder
PhD student

Research

Research projects

Project Title: There’s God in them there Hills: Encounters with the Spiritual Landscape  

Supervisors:  Professor Paul Cloke; Dr Susannah Cornwall

Funding Body: Self-funded

Project Description: The spiritual landscape is more than an intersection of the geographical and the theological, a relationship between space and sacred place. Attempting to define and explore it presents a range of challenges, both personal and academic. Geomorphology might describe the processes which shaped the landscape, settlement studies might tell us how it’s been peopled, cultural geography might even tell us how religion has left its mark but to understand the spiritual impact of the landscape requires a further shift: towards what might loosely be termed a ‘spiritual psychogeography’. This, in turn, for me requires an engagement with theology, literature, ethnography, queer theory and feminist and gender studies.
Having posited a theory as to how the spiritual landscape might be described (and I imagine this might be done in more than one way), the second and most important task is to devise a methodology for experiencing it; to get under its skin and try to discern what, spiritually-speaking, makes it ‘tick’ – maybe, at the risk of over indulging in metaphor, feeling its pulse. Walking seems the most relevant tool; not just the practice of hiking as pilgrimage but as a performative practice which is, in itself a ritual; a meditatory process that has much in common with, for example, the saying of the Rosary in Catholic ritual. At my (fervently) Catholic primary school we were taught that payer is a conduit to God, hiking, preferably alone, fulfils a similar function in turning the hike or pilgrimage into a more profound encounter with the divine

Publications/Presentations:

Cuerpo Libre o Muerte (Free Body or Death)
Diva magazine  (May 2002)
Women and homosexuality in Mexico and Central America

The Hour is Coming, the Hour is Come: Church and Feminist Theology in Post-Revolutionary El Salvador
Journal of Feminist Theology (September 2002)
Women and Catholicism in contemporary post-civil war El Salvador (MSc dissertation)

La Purísima
The Tablet  (December 2002)
Article on travel, tourism and religious festivals in Mexico and Central America

Our Lady of the Libido – Towards a Marian Theology of Sexual Liberation
Journal of Feminist Theology (September 2003)
Argues for a reappraisal of the traditional iconography of the Virgin Mary

The Society of Sin
Virgin Black Lace (2006 (UK)) (2007 (USA))
Full-length novel

Shot from Both sides in trans/Formations: A Radical Theological Critique on Transgendered Questions
Contiunuum  (2009)
Chapter on Catholicism, gender and sexuality

You don‘t have to live like a refugee: a theology of itinerancy and deviation
Journal of Feminist Theology (October 2014)
What happens when Geography gets in bed with Feminist Theology

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