School of Social and Political Science

Tom Boylston

Job Title


Tom Boylston photo

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Media anthropology, Game studies, Anthropology of Religion, Anthropology of Technology, Anthropology of Ethiopia

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising students studying topics related to the anthropology of games and play, anthropology of media and technology, Ethiopia, and anthropology of religion

If you are interested in being supervised by Tom Boylston, please see the link below for more information:


I am an anthropologist specialising in play, technology, and religion. I am interested in immersion, experience, and the building of worlds - in particular, how embodied disciplines (such as play, practice, or fasting) make meaningful lifeworlds. I am currently developing a new research project on games and mental health, which aims to understand game addiction debates through the ethics and aesthetics of immersion. I run a games and research group called Games for Humans and collaborate with various people in research-based game design.

My previous work focused on the anthropology of Orthodox Christianity in Ethiopia, and gave rise to much of my current interest in media and worldbuilding. I maintain an interest in the anthropology of Ethiopia. My monograph describes how religious prohibitions and techniques of mediation build religious worlds in Orthodox Christian Ethiopia. Where much work on modernity and religion describes a quest for un-mediated experience of God, I argue that Ethiopian Orthodoxy insists on the importance of mediation, and builds a disciplined religious world out of a diverse chain of spiritual and human intermediaries.


The Stranger at the Feast: Prohibition and Mediation in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community - University of Califronia Press, 2018

Available to download free and open access

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

Friday 12-2