Dr Brian Black
BA (California), MA (London), PhD (London)
Growing up in California, from a young age I had an awareness of and curiosity in Asian cultures. I followed up these interests by studying for a year at the University of Delhi in India, when I was an undergraduate. Subsequently, I worked as an English teacher in Japan for two years after I graduated from university. These experiences have continued to shape my personal and academic interests ever since.
I believe that one of the most rewarding aspects of a university education is the opportunity to question one’s own cultural assumptions and to learn about cultures and traditions from around the world. In modern British universities, a Religious Studies degree offers something vital and unique: an empathetic engagement with cultural difference. To learn about different religions and philosophies challenges students to become more self-reflective and become more responsible citizens in an increasingly multi-cultural and interconnected world. Indeed, Religious Studies is the degree in British universities that most directly and consistently deals with diversity and difference; it is the field of study that is most likely to engage students with a variety of worldviews.
I have always enjoyed teaching, particularly about subjects such as Hinduism and Buddhism, which are exciting and challenging for British students. I am particularly happy to be convenor for the module Religion in Contemporary Indian Life, which allows students to study in India for three weeks between their second and third years. Experiencing a different culture at a young age has changed the way I think about the world; I am honored to be teaching students at Lancaster who are taking up similar opportunities.