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Megan Loumagne Ulishney

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Dr Megan Loumagne Ulishney is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Theology and Science at the University of Nottingham. Her research is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and is part of a grant organised by the University of Edinburgh on the the theme of "God and the Book of Nature." Previously, Megan studied education, Scripture, and English Literature at Biola University for her undergraduate years, and is a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors College. She taught high school English and Theology for five years after graduation. After partially completing a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at Talbot Seminary, Megan moved to the east coast in order to complete a Masters of Divinity at Boston College as a Baker-Arrupe Fellow. In 2019, Megan obtained her doctorate from the University of Oxford (Christ Church) as a Clarendon Scholar under the supervision of Prof. Graham Ward.

Expertise Summary

Megan's doctoral research was focused on the doctrine of original sin and, in particular, on the challenges and opportunities for the doctrine in light of developments in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. A central task of her doctoral research was to construct a doctrine of inherited sin that takes biology and the evolution of sexual difference seriously. Her thesis is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, Megan's research focuses on theories of sexual selection and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, and their relevant points of intersection with theologies of nature. Major themes of this research include the role of desire and beauty in evolution, divine action, and creaturely agency. Megan is very interested in questions related to theology and science, especially the works of Charles Darwin, evolutionary biology and anthropology, and the intersection of these fields with Christian theology. Besides this project, her theological interests include contemplative spirituality, Augustine, feminist theology, Teresa of Avila, and the theology of Edward Schillebeeckx.

Megan has taught courses and tutorials in the following areas: the concept of God, feminist theology, feminist philosophy of religion, theology and science, Augustine and Late Antiquity

Teaching Summary

Megan has taught courses and tutorials in the following areas: the concept of God, feminist theology, feminist philosophy of religion, theology and science, Augustine and Late Antiquity. Other… read more

Research Summary

Postdoctoral Research:

I engage in research that examines contemporary theories of "sexual selection" in evolutionary biology, as well as relevant developments in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and their relevant points of intersection with theologies of nature. Sexual selection and the EES both expand the Modern Synthesis (MS) by bringing renewed attention to the agency of organisms in shaping the trajectory of evolutionary processes. Sexual selection, a theory about the competition for desirable mates, highlights the centrality of beauty and desire to the movements of evolution, and so it is rich with possibilities for theological engagement.

My research contributes to the "God and the Book of Nature" project, and to theology generally, by developing the first major theological engagement with theories of sexual selection. Most theological reflection on evolutionary theory has focused on Darwin's understanding of evolution via natural selection, and it has omitted theological consideration of his theory of sexual selection. This project is needed since Darwin viewed sexual selection as at least as important, if not at times more important, than natural selection for explaining the evolution of species, and sexual selection remains a key aspect of evolutionary biology today. Furthermore, since sexual selection raises questions about issues such as desire, aesthetics, agency, and ethics, it is fraught with theological implications, and it is especially relevant for theologies of nature. My work also adds to the emerging body of literature investigating the theological implications of the EES, since there are some areas of overlap between the EES and theories of sexual selection, especially in terms of re-examining the roles of culture and organism agency in evolution.

Other research projects:

My doctoral thesis entitled, Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve: Original Sin and the Evolution of Sexual Difference is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. The thesis explores the intersection of theologies of original sin with theologies of sexual difference as well as the challenges and opportunities for thinking about original sin and sexual difference in light of developments in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. The thesis engages with the works of Augustine, Valerie Saiving, John Paul II, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Grosz, and Anne Fausto-Sterling.

Recent Publications

Megan has taught courses and tutorials in the following areas: the concept of God, feminist theology, feminist philosophy of religion, theology and science, Augustine and Late Antiquity. Other research interests include Modern Catholic Theology, contemplative spirituality, and the works of Teresa of Avila and Edward Schillebeeckx.

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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