Studying religion in different times and cultures, across academic disciplines
How were religions traditions transformed in the past? Why, at the start of the 21st century, does religion continue to be so important to so many people as a source of sensemaking and personal identity? How does the importance they attach to their religion and spirituality relate to the wider cultural dynamics in our ever-more diverse and pluralist world? How can we better understand the often serious conflicts about the representation of religion? How does religion play a role, sometimes in a way that is not immediately visible, in today’s popular culture, modern media, and visual culture?
It makes a lot of sense to understand religion as a multimedia phenomenon.
Religious studies academics at Utrecht University approach these and other research questions from an interdisciplinary, historicising and materialist perspective. They work alongside philosophers, historians, media scientists, legal academics, and anthropologists. At the heart of this research is the shifting role and place of religion in modern societies. Today’s societies are, after all, more diverse in terms of religion. Despite processes of secularisation, for many people religion remains a key marker of their identity and an important cultural and political factor. If we want to properly understand religion’s presence today and its future, what we need is a thorough knowledge of the religious past and the ways in which religion and society and culture are interconnected.