Dr Maria Power

Fellow, Member, Las Casas Institute

Dr Maria Power is a Fellow of Blackfriars Hall where she a Senior Research Fellow in Human Dignity at the Las Casas Institute for Social Justice.  In December 2019, she was appointed as a Research Associate of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence at Bristol Baptist College, and in June 2019, she was a Holland Visiting Fellow at the University of Durham. Maria is also a honourary Senior Research Fellow at the William Temple Foundation as well as being a Visiting Fellow at the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary’s University.  She is the Book Reviews Editor for the Journal for the Study of Bible and Violence, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Social Encounters

Maria’s academic research focuses on the role that religions can play in ameliorating violence and ethnic conflict.  Her research on conflict and peace seeks to understand how religious organisations should behave in conflict and post-conflict situations in order to have a positive impact. Maria has expertise in intra- and inter-faith dialogue and peace-building practices. She is currently working on a project entitled: ‘Using Catholic Social Teaching’s concepts of peacebuilding to strengthen the social contract between citizen and state in post-conflict Northern Ireland.’ As well as producing a monograph which contextualises Catholic Social teaching for Northern Ireland, this project will also create two toolkits which will empower marginalized communities and help them engage with policy makers.

Maria has a number of successful research collaborations. Alongside Dr Helen Paynter, Bristol Baptist College, she is developing a collection of essays entitled Violence and Peace in Sacred Texts which will include contributions from Professor James Hegarty, University of Cardiff, and Professor Ankur Barua, University of Cambridge. She is also currently working with Dr Jonathan Bush, University of Durham, on a project exploring the experiences of lay Catholics in 20th Century Britain.

Maria has published numerous scholarly articles on the role of faith-based organisations in building peace in Northern Ireland, for example in the Journal of Contemporary Religion and the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. She has spoken both nationally and internationally on the topic, and is a regular contributor to the media on issues relating to faith, politics, and justice, most recently appearing on a PBS documentary on Pope John Paul II’s visit to Northern Ireland and writing for the Irish Times.

Select Publications:

Catholic Social Teaching and Theologies of Peace in Northern Ireland (Abingdon, 2021); From Ecumenism to Community Relations: Inter-Church Relationships in Northern Ireland 1980-2005 (Dublin, 2007). Editor of Building Peace in Northern Ireland (Liverpool, 2011).

Email: maria.power@bfriars.ox.ac.uk