How would you explain your research?
I'm interested in the relationship between religion, politics and identity, as well as the religious engagement with modernity. I focus on how these issues play out in the Chinese world.
What inspired you to pursue this area?
I was initially drawn to these topics through my interest in Buddhism, especially after I spent time in Taiwan as a student. I became fascinated in the Buddhist engagement with different ideas featuring on modern intellectual landscapes, and went from there.
How will your research affect the average person?
Societies are the product of shared past histories. By learning about the past, we can become more critically engaged members of the social worlds we inhabit now.
How does your research influence your teaching?
I draw on my research as much as I can when teaching. I always find that students have interesting, new ways of thinking about it, and I often leave lectures thinking about what they have said!
What's been the greatest moment of your career so far?
Submitting my PhD thesis, and winning a university medal, are memories that I still cherish.
What's the biggest challenge in your field?
It's so diverse! Keeping up to date with everything that's happening can be a challenge. But that's also why it's so interesting.
What advice would you give to someone considering an undergraduate degree in sociology or social policy?
Studying society will change your experience of it. Read about sociological topics, then critically examine the social spaces in which you live. Applying the insights of sociological theory to our daily experiences will enable us to see things that were formerly invisible to us.