The roles of religion in the past and present

The Religious Studies research group focuses on the interdisciplinary study of religion, in particular Christianity and Islam.

We study historical and contemporary developments worldwide, with special attention for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.

Areas of expertise: Christianity | Islam | Judaism | Religious Pluralism | Islam in Europe | Media | Popular Culture | Material Culture | Intellectual History of Islam | Religious Texts and Textual Practices

The Religious Studies research group focuses on a broad range of themes concerning religion, such as:

  • the history of ideas of the after-life and their influence on the ideals and actions of believers;
  • the role of media (films, internet, images) on religious experiences and transformations of religious practices;
  • national and transnational networks of Muslims;
  • the use of religion in conflicts and processes of reconciliation;
  • secular and post-secular moral and social norms and institutions;
  • the interaction between norms, moral codes, institutions and religious ideas.

Religion, institutions and human rights

Many projects focus on the transformation of social and political institutions (such as citizenship, gender norms, schools, the law) under the influence of religion and vice versa. Our researchers also pay attention to social inclusion and exclusion, religion and religious norms as an impediment to or enhancer of social mobility, and religious dimensions of discussions relating to equality and human rights. This links the research to the university's strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies and the focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights.

Interdisciplinary and international

Our research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of religion, and especially of Christianity and Islam. It examines both fundamental issues and concrete societal problems. A range of expertise is brought together in the Religious Studies research group, and its members use methods from different disciplines, including literary and historical analysis, media studies, philosophy, and socio-cultural studies.

Research into religion past and present goes hand-in-hand with a thorough reflection of the theoretical foundations of the study of religion. Our research extends across historical and geographical boundaries and focuses on both present-day themes and historical phenomena and on developments in regions across the world, with particular attention being paid to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia.

News

Vlag Universiteit Utrecht
27 May 2019
De Universiteit Utrecht heeft vier zogeheten focusgebieden aangewezen waarin in totaal €1,6 miljoen wordt geïnvesteerd.
Amman Jordanië © iStockphoto.com
9 May 2019
Joas Wagemakers joined Bureau Buitenland on May 7th to discuss the recent steps Jordan is taking on the global stage.
Israëlische controlepost © iStockphoto.com/ichinterlang
6 May 2019
On April 25th, Joas Wagemakers appeared in Nederlands Dagblad to discuss the popularity of political Islam in Muslim countries.
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Events

24 - 26
Jun
24 June 2019 - 26 June 2019
To conclude this project on parables, the international conference 'Power of Parables: Narrating Religion in Late Antiquity' is organized.
8
Jul
8 July 2019 16:15 - 17:15
On 8 July Marco Derks will defend his thesis on the way homosexuality and Christian religion are discussed in contemporary public debates.
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