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Faculty of Divinity

Rastafari Theology
Religious Dietary Practice
Faith and Football


Joseph studied Theology at the University of Exeter, before moving on to MPhil study in Theology (World Christianities) and then a PhD in Theology both at the University of Cambridge. Joseph has now joined the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, having previously served as a Lecturer at Birmingham Newman University and a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Joseph has also taught at Cambridge on papers ranging from 'Understanding Contemporary Religion' to 'Themes in World Christianities', and has also convened a module on the interaction between the historic interaction between Christianity and food at St Albans Cathedral. For his innovative and student-led approach to teaching Joseph has been appointed Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He serves as co-convenor of the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group at Cambridge where he has organised a diverse range of panel events and a two day international research conference. He is also Editor of the Methodist theology and praxis journal Holiness based at Wesley House in Cambridge, and a former editor of the Faculty of Divinity student research journal Noesis.

Joseph has written for the Conversation, and has recently launched the Faculty of Divinity's inaugral podcast series 'Divinity Divulged' which seeks to shine a light on the diverse range of fascinating research that happens within it.

He has also served as an expert witness on Rastafari spirituality in criminal judicial proceedings. 


Joseph’s research primary research focus is Rastafari spirituality in the Caribbean and the UK. His recent PhD thesis explored Rastafari ecologies and ecotheologies through ethnographic fieldwork in St Lucia/Iyanola. This built on his MPhil research which explored contemporary dietary practices amongst Rastafari communities in Jamaica and the UK. Joseph has produced numerous journal articles, conference papers and encyclopedia entries on Rastafari, spanning the elemental language of Rastafari influenced music to Rastafari encounters with Covid-19.

Joseph's British Academy funded research project will explore Rastafari encounters with violence, both physical and cosmological, through ethnographic research amongst Rastafari civilians and those serving in military and police roles. This project will include an online exploration and exposition, curated alongside Cambridge Digital Humanities, of the ‘soundscapes’ that frame these interactions. Joseph also maintains an active interest in the interaction between faith and football.


Key publications: 


  • Ancient Bongo Watto. Ras Flako, Jake Homiak (eds. Joseph Powell) (Montego Bay, Jamaica: Wisemind Publications, 2021)

Journal Articles

  • Dis Plandemic Iwah: Rastafari Responses to Covid-19 and Covid-19 Management Strategies in Iyanola (St Lucia) – Caribbean Conjnctures: Caribbean Studies Association Journal Vol 1 Iss 1. December 2022. 90-112. ISSN: 0799-6500
  • Christian Eschatological Engagement with the Book of Revelation: From Apocalypse to Amillennialism – Challenging Religious Issues Iss 19. 8-15. 2022. ISSN 2053-5163.
  • A Community Ten Miles Away: Iyanolan (St Lucian) Visions for Rastafari Community Living – Nova Religio Vol 25 Iss 4. May 2022. 88-101.
  • Ketch Vampire: ‘The Vampire Trope in Rastafari Inspired Music’ – Noesis VIII. October 2021. 38-50.
  • Ital Hermeneutics: The Innovative Theological Grounding Of Rastafari Dietary (Ietary) Practices - Black Theology Vol 19 Iss 1. March 2021. 32-52
  • Paul the Apostle’s Attitudes Towards Women – The Undergraduate Vol 2 No 1. March 2015. 38-43 

Encyclopaedia Entries


Conference Presentations

  • American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Antonio TX: ‘Over Deh So – Notions of Indigeneity Amongst Rastafari Communities in St Lucia/Iyanola’ 19-22.11.23
  • British Association for the Study of Religions*, Clare College Cambridge – Roundtable ‘Ethnographies of Eschatology’ 12.09.23
  • British Association for the Study of Religions, Clare College Cambridge ‘Jah Lightning and Thunder: The Elemental Language of Rastafari Millennial Judgement’ 12.09.23
  • European Academy of Religion Conference, University of St Andrews: ‘Informer Men - "Outsider" Anthropology-Theology Ethnography Amongst Caribbean Rastafari Communities’ 20.06.23
  • Cambridge Anthropology Theology Network* Anthropology-Theology Ethnography Amongst Caribbean Rastafari Communities’ 13.06.23
  • Caribbean Studies Association Conference, St Croix USVI: ‘Ital Itineraries: Transformative Rastafari Eco-Tourism in St Lucia/Iyanola’ 06.06.23
  • Newman University Research Seminar – ‘Rastafari Green Exegesis in St Lucia’ 21.01.23 Balter Festival*: ‘History and Itality of Rastafari Dietary Practices’ 21.05.22
  • Global Reggae Conference: ‘Reggae Films, Reggae Icons, Reggae Music’ Kingston, Jamaica – ‘Small Axe: Lovers Rock – Safe Spaces and Soundscapes’ 18.02.22
  • Hertfordshire Schools Panel Debate*: The food on your plate, who pays the price? w/ Patrick Holden CEO Sustainable Food Trust & Quintin McKellar Vice Chancellor University of Hertfordshire 15.10.21
  • Re-interpreting Knowledge Symposium*: Rastafari and the Academy – Freedom in the City of Bath Festival 08.10.21 –
  • Society for the Study of Theology ‘Reconciliation’, Newnham College, Cambridge: ‘The Castries Cathedral Attack 20 Years on’ 13.09.21

Teaching and Supervisions



Birmingham Newman University: Lecturer (January 2022 - September 2023) 

Course Convener, Tutor: St Albans Cathedral, Certificate in Theology - Food, Fast and Faith: Christian Eating Practices and Eco-Theology in Conversation with World Religions (2021) 

Research supervision: 


A6 - Understanding Contemporary Religion 

A7 - Studying World Religions: History, Comparison, Dialogue 

B7 - Themes in World Christianities: Context, Theology and Power

Other Professional Activities

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group - Co-Convener

Advance HE - Fellow

Cambridge Digital Humanities - Associate 

Wolfson College - Junior Research Fellow

Holiness - Editor 

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Details

Email address: 
Available for consultancy