Dr Alexander Darius Ornella

Senior Lecturer in Religion, Programme Director for Sociology, and Director of the Centre for Spirituality Studies

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education


+44 (0) 1482 466094

Dr Alexander Darius Ornella's research interests range from religion to the sport of CrossFit.

He is interested in how "religion" is present and represented in media and film, and how people "do" and practice religion today.

Dr Ornella holds a PhD in Theology (Dr. theol.) and a Master in Theology (Mag. theol.) from the University of Graz, Austria.

His research expertise also includes popular culture, film, and media, religion and technology, and material religion.



Research Interests

  • The sport of CrossFit and religion
  • Religion, popular culture, film, and media
  • Religion and body
  • Religion and technology
  • Material and visual religion

Research groups

  • Member of the "International Exchange on Media and I Religion", https://media-religion.net/
  • Previously a member of the funded research projects TheoMedia (FWF), Commun(icat)ing Bodies (FWF), The Immortality Project (UC Riverside / Templeton Foundation)


Ornella, Alexander Darius, '"Jesus Saves" and "Clothed in Christ": Athletic Religious Apparel in the Christian CrossFit Community'Sport in Society, 2017

Ornella, Alexander Darius, 'Losers, Food, and Sex: Clerical Masculinity in the BBC Sitcom REV', Journal for Religion, Film and Media 2 (2), 99-121, 2016

Ornella, Alexander D. (ed)., Making Humans: Religious, Technological, and Aesthetic Perspectives, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2015

Ornella, Alexander D., Knauss, Stefanie, Höpflinger, Anna-Katharina, (eds.), Commun(icat)ing Bodies. The Body as Medium in Religious Communication Systems, London: Bloomsbury, 2015

Ornella, Alexander Darius, 'Uncanny Intimacies. Humans and Machines in Film', in: Hauskeller, Michael et al. (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Posthumanism in Film and Television, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 330-338, 2015

Full list



Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • We R Who We R: Media, Religion, and Identity Construction
  • "In God We Trust". US American Civil Religion and Its Political Relevance
  • Avatars, Cyborgs, and Ordinary Human(s)/Bodies
  • Religion, Science, and Technology
  • Viewing the Divine
  • Sacred Spaces - Sacred Media
  • Introduction to World Religion (teaching world religions without teaching world religions)
  • Religious Activism
  • Religious Fictions
  • Negotiating Research in Religion
  • Understanding Islam(ophobia)
  • Visualising the Other
  • Apocalypse and Utopia
  • Theorising Society

Research PhDs

Dr Ornella is happy to supervise research projects in the area of theology / religion and popular culture, religion and body, religion and technology, religion and film, sports and religion. For more information, please contact him.


Teaching awards and accolades

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • Dr. theol. (Graz)
  • MMag. theol. (Graz)
  • MBA (Leicester)