Chris Cotter

Episode 173,   Jul 21, 2023, 12:06 AM

My guest this week is Chris Cotter who lectures for the Open University and has a rich background in podcasts. He co-founded the Religious Studies Project podcast in 2012, and we talk about our thoughts on podcasts and why academics want to discuss their research.

Chris comes from near Belfast, where his father is a Church of Ireland minister, and moved to Edinburgh in 2004 initially to do a degree in Physics. He had discovered amateur dramatics at the end of high school and was also involved in a band, performing Shakespeare and other plays and came to the conclusion that a Physics degree was the wrong call. He ended up migrating to Religious Studies.

Chris’s area of research is in the critical study of religion, theory and method, and we learn about his interests in New Atheism, non-religion and ethnography.

Chris talks about his relatively privileged upbringing, his experience of growing up in Northern Ireland prior to the Good Friday Agreement, and what has, and what hasn’t, changed. He became known as ‘Irish Chris’ when he first moved to Edinburgh, and Chris reflects on how he could claim an Irish identity more outside of Ireland than within it.

We also learn how Chris moved from being averse to nationalism to becoming quite a supporter of the cause.

We talk about Chris’s amateur dramatics interests, as well as the chamber choir and grand opera, and more recently musical theatre. We talk about the concept of communitas, as well as the so-called ‘post-show blues’. Chris is quite a reserved person and we find out why he perhaps surprisingly likes to put himself on the stage.

Towards the end of the interview, we learn about Chris’s penchant for film, and how we feel about watching movies in a solitary context. Chris sometimes watches films on train journeys, and we discover what it is that he gets out of the oeuvre of Darren Aronofsky.

At the very end, we learn why Chris is more of a looking back than a looking forward type of person.