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The work of the research group finds its expression in various publication formats. In addition to monographs, edited volumes and articles by individual members of the research group, we also make (preliminary) research results available for academic discourse in the form of working papers.

Furthermore, with the Companion to the Study of Secularity, the research group is pursuing a long-term, collaborative publication project that aims to make research on phenomena of the conceptual distinction and structural differentiation of "religion" accessible to a larger academic audience and thus to contribute to opening up a new field of research and facilitating interdisciplinary exchange.

Working papers as well as entries for the Companion to the Study of Secularity are reviewed by at least two peers from the research group prior to publication.

Latest Publications


Roberto Blancarte
#27: Populism, Religion, and Secularity in Latin America and Europe: A Comparative Perspective

#27: Populism, Religion, and Secularity in Latin America and Europe: A Comparative PerspectiveMuch has been written in the past few decades about populism that most scholars approaching the subject feel obliged to begin by justifying their writing of yet another text. In this paper, the situation is somewhat different: whilst our analytical gaze is cast upon populism (and fascism, as a precursor or closely related social phenomenon), this is only indirectly the case. Our primary focus is, instead, on the relationship that populism has with religion and secularity. Or, more precisely, the relationships of diverse populisms with different religiosities and various secularities. While the religious and the secular are mentioned in numerous studies about populism, these topics have rarely been adequately elaborated. Even when they are discussed, they are treated only in a marginal way. The purpose of this work is, therefore, to highlight the complex and multi-faceted way that populisms in Europe and Latin America have related to religion and religiosity. A second, parallel objective of this work is to reflect on the particular relationships populism establishes with different understandings of the secular, specifically within the political sphere, i.e. ‘political secularity.’ Following the differentiation paradigm, another term one might see used for this is ‘laicity’ (laïcité in French, laicidad in Spanish). I understand this to refer specifically to the secularisation of the state and the areas of society which come under its control.
more Working Papers

Lena Dreier
Der Islam als akademische Praxis

Von der biographischen Islamizität zum pluralen Islam

Der Islam als akademische Praxis

Vom Studienfach Islamische Theologie, vor elf Jahren gegründet, erwartete man sich politisch die Ausbildung integrationsfördernder Imame. Die Autorin geht empirisch der Frage nach, wie die Studierenden mit diesen Erwartungen umgehen. Die Sinnzuschreibungen der Akteure, so zeigt sich, sind eng verknüpft mit dem Umgang des Staates mit Religion wie auch der akademischen Disziplin mit dem Islam. Im Ergebnis zeigt

sich das Konzept der biographischen Islamizität, einer zentralen Erfahrungsweise von Muslimen in Minderheitsverhältnissen. Die Fachbeteiligten institutionalisieren das Bild eines pluralen Islams. Das Buch liefert einen religionssoziologischen Beitragzum Verständnis religiös-säkularer Konstellationen in der Gesellschaft.

Dreier, Lena. Der Islam als akademische Praxis. Von der biographischen Islamizität zum pluralen Islam. Religion der Gesellschaft 51. Baden-Baden: Ergon, 2023.

more books

Todd H. Weir and Lieke Wijnia
Religious Heritage between Scholarship and Practice

Religious Heritage between Scholarship and Practice

This Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Heritage in Contemporary Europe was prompted by the convergence of two recent developments. In the realm of scholarship, heritage has now advanced to become a core concept in the study of religion. At the same time, national and international cultural agencies increasingly take into account the religious dimensions of heritage. By illuminating the space of convergence that lies between scholarship and practice, this handbook makes its specific contribution. Our starting point for this volume is the interaction we see taking place between university scholars and those in museums, government agencies, and church and heritage foundations who actively contribute to the making of heritage. Scholars and heritage professionals are not working in separate worlds but have jointly developed ethical and normative concerns and share many of the same intellectual curiosities.

The handbook is organized around three central areas of inquiry. The first is Heritage and Diversity and investigates how scholars and professionals are responding to the diversity of religion and culture in European societies. The second part examines Heritage between Religion and the Secular and asks how developments in religious heritage relate to the declining participation in traditional religions in many parts of Europe, but also to new secular-religious configurations. The third part investigates Heritage and Creativity and enquires how artistic means and curatorial practices are contributing to a new understanding of heritage as meaning making.

Weir Todd H., and Lieke Wijnia. “Religious Heritage between Scholarship and Practice” In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Heritage in Contemporary Europe, edited by Todd H. Weir, and Lieke Wijinia, 3-14. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023.

more articles

Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz
The “White History”: Religion and Secular Rule in Buddhist Mongolia

nameWith the assertion of Buddhism as the dominant religion at the end of the 16th century, a new reflection on the relationship between the secular and the religious commenced among the Mongols. They adopted the Joint Twofold System of Governance formulated in Buddhist Tibet, and adapted it to the Mongolian cultural context. This system of governance is described in the work “The White History”, written in the late 16th century, with the epistemic distinctions between the religious and the secular discursively negotiated in the work. Although the impact of these distinctions on the social differentiations of Mongolian society during the Qing period (1644–1911) remains to be investigated, the “White History” nonetheless provides a valuable insight into pre-modern Mongolian notions of the distinction between the religious and the secular.
more Companion entries