Dr Pooyan Tamimi Arab (Programme Coordinator)
Pooyan Tamimi Arab is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Programme Coordinator. He combines anthropology and art history with political philosophy, focusing on religious tolerance and political secularism.
Prof. Christian Lange
Christian Lange is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies. His main areas of interest are classical Islamic law, theology and mysticism. After having researched Islamic notions of paradise and hell for several years, he is currently directing a research project on the history of the senses in Islamic societies.
Prof. Birgit Meyer
Birgit Meyer is Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University. She has conducted anthropological and historical research on Christianity in Ghana since the late 1980s. Next to this, she has worked on conceptual issues in the interface of anthropology and religious studies, focusing on religion and media, religion and the public sphere, and religion and visual culture.
Dr Christoph Baumgartner
Christoph Baumgartner is Associate Professor of Ethics. His main areas of interest are politics of religious diversity in liberal democracies, freedom of religion, citizenship, secularism, blasphemy, and ethical and religious issues with respect to non-human nature and the climate catastrophe.
Dr Katja Rakow
Katja Rakow is Associate Professor for Religious Studies. She is interested in transformation and innovation processes within religious traditions and has worked on religion and transcultural encounters (Tibetan Buddhism in the West) and religion and technology (Evangelical megachurches in the US and Singapore). Her current research focuses on the materialities of religious texts and textual practices.
Dr Margreet van Es
Dr Margreet van Es is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. Her research combines social history and sociology with the anthropology of religion. Having critically analyzed anti-Muslim sentiments in Europe for many years, she currently focuses on the relationship between religious diversity, food practices, social mobility, cosmopolitanism, and belonging.
Dr Arash Ghajarjazi
Dr Arash Ghajarjazi is a postdoctoral fellow at the research group Beyond Sharia. Currently, his work deals with the intellectual history of unbelief in the Perso-Islamic milieu. His research interests lie at the intersection of the history of Islam, art history, science studies and the history of technologies in the Middle East. In 2022/2023 he teaches the course Core Themes in the Study of Religion, in which students are introduced to perspectives on the intersection between medical and religious discourses.
Dr Marleen de Witte
Dr Marleen de Witte is a cultural anthropologist with a research background in religion and media and fieldwork experience in Ghana and the Netherlands. Her topics include African Pentecostalism, African Traditional Religion, and media practices; religion, heritage, and popular culture; and religion and the senses. She currently studies religious objects acquired through missionary collecting in Gold Coast/Ghana.
Dr Erik Meinema
Dr Erik Meinema is a lecturer in Religious Studies. His main areas of interest are religious diversity, political secularism, and youth culture, with a particular regional focus on East Africa. He has conducted extensive anthropological research on religious coexistence in the coastal region of Kenya.
Dr Lucien van Liere
Dr Lucien van Liere is Associate Professor of Religious Studies. He has worked in Indonesia from 2000-2007. His main area of research is the wide interdisciplinary field of religion, conflict, and violence. Currently he works on a project (with Dr Erik Meinema) on the meaning of weapons.
Dr Ana Rita Amaral
Dr Ana Rita Amaral is an anthropologist, working across the fields of history, museums, and religious studies. Her PhD (University of Lisbon, 2018) focused on the collections assembled by Catholic missionaries in Angola during the colonial period. It focused on the processes of (ethnographic) representation and knowledge production at the intersection between missionary activity and colonial governmentality, raising questions about the legacies of these in museums today.
Dr Joas Wagemakers
Joas Wagemakers is interested in the intellectual history of modern Islam, with a focus on theological and political thinking among Islamists. Wagemakers' research has concentrated on Salafism and particularly Salafi ideology; the Muslim Brotherhood; citizenship, women's rights and Shiites' rights in Saudi Arabia; and Hamas. Geographically, his interests lie mostly in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories, although he also spends time reading international Jihadi-Salafi discourse.
Dr Eric Ottenheijm
Eric Ottenheijm is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Biblical Studies. His prime interest is the way religious identities are formed in Late Antique entanglements of textual, material, and political dimensions. His main research is on Parables in Christian and Rabbinic sources, Rabbinic literature, and the Gospel of Matthew.
Dr Mehrdad Alipour
Mehrdad Alipour is a postdoctoral research fellow based on his Veni project “Beyond Binaries.” This study examines intersex identity as a third sex and/or gender in (Shi'i) Islamic legal tradition between the 14th and early 20th centuries. Mehrdad’s research focuses on Islamic law, legal theory, and Shi'i studies. He is particularly interested in the transformation of Islamic legal traditions concerning gender, sex, and sexuality diversity in the premodern and modern eras. Mehrdad’s teaching mainly deals with Islamic revelatory texts and hermeneutical practices.
Dr Itamar Ben Ami
Itamar Ben Ami is an assistant professor at the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Utrecht University. He is interested, first, in the tense encounter of theology with politics in late modernity, and, second, in a critical genealogy of the foundations of modernity through the lenses of religious traditions. Itamar has published on the Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy and its relations to broader discourses around theology and secularism in the 20th century, and he is currently working on two book projects, one on the emergence of Ultra-Orthodox political theology, and the second on the Jewish visibility and belonging in modernity. Itamar is a graduate of the Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva world.