David G. Robertson

5/1 Bonnington Avenue,

Edinburgh, EH6 5QH

07734 106775

Current Research Projects

“Aquarian Conspiracies: Extraterrestrials as discursive unit between New Age and conspiracist milieux.” Ph.D, supervised by Dr. Steven Sutcliffe. Expected completion, 12/2013.


2009-2010: MSc by Research, Religious Studies, University of Edinburgh, 11/2010. “Gnosticism as a discursive field”, supervisor Dr. Steven Sutcliffe.

2005-2009: MA (Hons), Religious Studies. Edinburgh University, 7/2009. First class honours.

Research and Teaching Interests

Contemporary gnosticism; early Christianity; conspiracy theorism; 20th century alternative spirituality; graphic novels.

Future research plans: Long-form survey of contemporary gnostic groups; a Very Short Introduction to Alternative Spiritualities for undergraduates; an edited volume on metaphysical conspiracism.


“Making the Donkey Visible: Discordianism in the Works of Robert Anton Wilson” in C. Cusack & A. Norman (Eds.), Brill Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill. (2012 )

“(Always) Living in the End Times: the Rolling Prophecy of Conspiracy Culture” in Sarah Harvey & Suzanne Newcombe (Eds.) Prophecy in the New Millennium: When Prophecies Persist. London: INFORM/Ashgate. (2013 – in press)

“The Reptilian Thesis as New Age Theodicy: David Icke’s Metaphysical Conspiracism.” In Journal of Contemporary Religion (In press).

Review: Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. Jeffrey J. Kripal. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2010. In International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2/2. (2012)

Review: Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels. A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer (Eds). New York and London: Continuum, 2010. In Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, 2/2 (2011)

January, 2011 – Contemporary ‘Gnosticism’ as a Discursive Field: an analysis of individual and institutional authority in twentieth century ‘gnostic’ movements. M.Sc thesis. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.


2011: BASR Conference Post-graduate Bursary

2010-2013: Edinburgh University, Ph.D. full scholarship (School of Divinity, through AHRC)

2009-10: Edinburgh University, M.Sc. full scholarship (School of Divinity, through AHRC)

2008: Gunning Prize – 2nd place Junior Honours


(Always) Living in the End Times: The Rolling Prophecy of Conspiracy Culture. INFORM, London School of Economics. 12/5/2012.

Reptilians, the New Age and Globalisation. SOCREL conference, Chester, 28/3/2012.

The Religious Studies Project Workshop. Innovative Learning Week, 22/2/2012.

The Demythologisation of Traditional Religious Symbols in Modern Extraterrestrial Narratives. Workshop for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion and Culture, Edinburgh University, 15/2/2012.

The Demythologisation of Traditional Religious Symbols in Modern Extraterrestrial Narratives. BASR Annual Conference, Durham, 7/9/2011.

Typologies of 20th Century “Gnosticism”, Religious Studies Seminar Series, University of Edinburgh, 3/2/2010.


2012: Tutor: University of Edinburgh, Divinity, Religion 1A (two groups).

2012: Lecturer, part-time: University of Edinburgh, Divinity, Religion 1A – 3-week unit on New Religions.

2011-12: Editorial assistant: ‘What is Religious Studies? A Reader in Disciplinary Formation’ by Steven J. Sutcliffe (London: Equinox).

2011-13: Tutor: Edinburgh University, Office of Lifelong Learning.

2011-12: Co-organiser of Edinburgh University Religious Studies Seminar series.

Professional Courses

Qualitative Research Methods Workshop, University of Edinburgh, 29/2/2012, led by Dr. Elizabeth Koepping

Public Speaking, 15-17/08/2011. Office of Lifelong Learning at Edinburgh University, led by Jacqueline Whymark

Aspiring Academics Workshop in Scotland, 27/10/2010. Hosted by the Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies for the Higher Education Academy.

Teaching Experience

2012: Lecturer: University of Edinburgh, Divinity, Religious Studies 1A – 3-week unit on New Religions.

2012: Alternative Spiritualities. Edinburgh of University, Office of Lifelong Learning. (Adults)

2005-8: Private guitar tuition. (Children and adults)

Professional Affiliations


BSA Socrel, Sociology of Religion Study Group

RASEN – Religion and Society, Edinburgh Network

Additional Skills

Biblical Greek (good reading knowledge).

Published writing and editorial experience (fiction, journalism, comics).

Founding editor and interviewer,


Dr. Steven Sutcliffe, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Society, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Professor Carole Cusack, University of Sydney, Department for the Study of Religion, Woolley Building A-20, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

Professor Emeritus James Cox, University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, Scotland, UK.

Writing Sample

Book review: Rethinking “Gnosticism”: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category, by Michael Williams.