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Religious Dynamics and Cultural Diversity

Religious Dynamics and Cultural Diversity

This project belongs to the following research constellations:


Globalization and Migration

Cultural and Social Critique

This interdisciplinary research group (located within the UvA Humanities research institutes ICG and ASCA) focuses on historical and current practices of religion in Europe, situated in its wider Mediterranean and Eurasian context, as a complex, plural field which is characterized by continuous processes of change and transformation over time.

Contrary to traditional notions of a monolithic “Christian occident” (das Christliche Abendland), our emphasis is on religion in Europe in its full diversity. We are particularly interested in processes of discursive transfer and exchange of practices and ideas in and between Jewish, Christian, and Islamic communities, the literary transmission of “pagan” and other traditions within these contexts and the emergence, since the 18th century, of a new religious landscape under the impact of processes of modernization, secularization, individualization, romanticization, commercialization, as well as – beginning in the second half of the 19th and gaining particular force from the second half of the 20th century onwards – of migration and globalization. Complex processes of competition by means of polemics and apologetics, persecution, exclusion and syncretism, innovation and inclusion by means of selective borrowing can be observed in all these contexts.

The research group intends to be not just multidisciplinary, but also interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary: participants come from a variety of specialisations and disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. historical research, textual analysis, anthropology, sociology, psychology, study of the arts, methodological approaches and history of science), but are encouraged to collaborate across traditional disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

In order to stimulate such an approach, the research output will be categorized not according to the affiliation of scholars to specific disciplines, but on the basis of the actual contents of their various publications from year to year and existing or upcoming collaborations in research projects.

The research group organizes seminars, meetings, and workshops, and will serve as a platform for the discussion about and preparation of funding applications. As such, it aims to become a centre of expertise for bringing together and coordinating all research concerned with religion at the University of Amsterdam. Scholars from all disciplines in the Faculties of Humanities and of the Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam may participate.


Egil Aspren, Tessel M. Bauduin, Jonneke Bekkenkamp, Jaap van Belzen, Jacqueline Borsje, Peter J. Forshaw, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Jan Willem van Henten, Ammeke Kateman, Gemma Kwantes, Richard van Leeuwen, Selma Leydesdorff, Marco Pasi, Joyce Pijnenburg, Ulrike Popp-Baier, Caroline VanderStichele, Sipco Vellenga, Osvald Vasicek, Gerard Wiegers