Chair
professor religious studies
Date of appointment 01.09.2011
Inaugural lecture date 19.10.2012
Profile

Trained as a cultural anthropologist and working on lived religion in Ghana for more than 20 years, Birgit Meyer studies religion from a global and post-secular perspective. Her research is driven by an urge to make sense of the shifting place and role of religion in our time, and to show that scholarly work in the field of religion is of eminent concern to understanding the shape of our world in the early 21st century. In so doing, she seeks to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a broad multidisciplinary setting.Her main research foci are the rise and popularity of global Pentecostalism; religion, popular culture and heritage; religion and media; religion and the public sphere; religious visual culture, the senses and aesthetics.

Involved in the following study programme(s)
Scientific expertise
christian missions in West Africa
pentecostalism
globalisation and popular culture
material religion
religion and post-secular society
the senses
aesthetics
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Curriculum vitae Download PDF

 

 

 

Birgit Meyer studied religious studies and pedagogy (for disabled children) at Bremen University and cultural anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). After her PhD defense in 1995 she was affiliated with the Research Center Religion and Society (UvA). Between 2004 and 2011 she was professor of cultural anthropology at VU University Amsterdam; since September 2011 she is professor of religious studies at Utrecht University. Between 2000 and 2006 she directed the NWO Pionier programma Modern Mass Media, Religion and the Imagination of Communities. She has conducted research on and published about colonial missions and local appropriations of Christianity, modernity and conversion, the rise of Pentecostalism in the context of neo-liberal capitalism, popular culture and video-films in Ghana, the relation between religion, media and identity, as well as on material religion and the place and role of religion in the 21st century. Her book publications include Translating the Devil. Religion and Modernity Among the Ewe in Ghana (Edinburgh University Press, 1999), Globalization and Identity. Dialectics of Flow and Closure (edited with Peter Geschiere, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), Magic and Modernity. Interfaces of Revelation and Concealment (edited with Peter Pels, Stanford University Press, 2003), Religion, Media and the Public Sphere (edited with Annelies Moors, Indiana University Press, 2006), Aesthetic Formations. Media, Religion and the Senses (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Things. Religion and the Question of Materiality (edited with Dick Houtman, Fordham 2012) and Sensational Movies. Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana. (Berkeley: The University of California Press). She is vice-chair of the International African Institute (London), a member of the Royal Netherlands  Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the editors of Material Religion. In 2010-2011 she was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg), Berlin. In 2011 she was awarded the Anneliese Maier Forschungspreis (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation). In 2015 she received the Academy professor prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the NWO Spinoza award from the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research.

 

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The publications listed refer to my publications since 2011. For a full list of publications see CV.

Key publications

Meyer, B. (2015). How Pictures Matter. Religious Objects and the Imagination in Ghana. In Øivind Fuglerud & Leon Wainwright (Eds.), Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement (pp. 160-182). Berghahn.

Meyer, B. (2015). Sensational Movies - Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana. (408 p.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Meyer, B. (2015). Picturing the Invisible. Visual Culture and the Study of Religion. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 27 (4-5), (pp. 333-360).

Meyer, Birgit (2014). Mediation and the Genesis of Presence (reprint of inaugural lecture), with a response on comments by Hans Belting, Pamela Klassen, Chris Pinney, Monique Scheer. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 5, (pp. 205-254) (50 p.).

Meyer, B. & de Witte, M. (2013). Heritage and the Sacred, Special Issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief. London: Bloomsbury Journals.

Meyer, B. (2013). Material Mediations and Religious Practices of World-making. In K. Lundby (Eds.), Religion Across Media: From Early Antiquity to Late Modernity (pp. 1-19) (19 p.). New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.

Meyer, B. (2011). Mediating Absence - Effecting Spiritual Presence. Pictures and the Christian Imagination. "Image as Action, Image in Action". Social Research, 78.

All publications
  2016 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. (2016). Afterword. Creativity in Transition. In Maruška Svašek & Birgit Meyer (Eds.), Creativity in Transition. Politics and Aesthetics of Cultural Production Across the Globe (pp. 312-318). New York/Oxford: Berghahn.
Meyer, B. & Svasek, M. (2016). Creativity in Transition. Politics and Aesthetics of Cultural Production Across the Globe. (366 p.). New York/Oxford: Berghahn.
Meyer, B. (2016). How to Capture the Wow - R.R. Marett’s Notion of Awe and the Study of Religion. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 22 (1), (pp. 7-26).
Meyer, B., Knott, Kim & Krech, Volkhard (2016). Iconic Religion in Urban Space. Material Religion, 12 (2), (pp. 123-136).
Meyer, B., Knotte, Kim & Krech, Volkhard (2016). Iconic Religion in Urban Space. Taylor & Francis.
Meyer, B. & Janson, Marloes (2016). Introduction: Towards a Framework for the Study of Christian-Muslim Encounters in Africa. Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute, 86 (4), (pp. 615-619).
Meyer, B. & Janson, Marloes (2016). Studying Islam and Christianity in Africa: Moving beyond a bifurcated field. (615 p.). Cambridge Univerity Press.
Meyer, B. (2016). Tastbare Transzendenz – die Anwesendheit von Religion im Raum der Stadt / Tangible Transcendence and the Presence of Religion in Urban Space. In Susanne Lanwerd (Eds.), The Urban Sacred - Städtisch-religiöse Arrangements in Amsterdam, Berlin und London / How religion Makes and Takes Place in Amsterdam, Berlin and London (pp. 144-151). Berlin: Metropolis Verlag.
Meyer, B. (2016). The Icon in Orthodox Christianity, Art History and Semiotics. Material Religion, 12 (2), (pp. 233-234).
Meyer, B. (2016). Three points About Current German Anthropology. American Anthropologist, 118 (2), (pp. 379-380).
Meyer, B. (2016). Towards a joint framework for the study of Christians and Muslims in Africa. Response to J.D.Y. Peel. Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute, 86 (4), (pp. 628-632).
Meyer, B. (2016). Visualizing the Spiritual. Video-Movies in Ghana. In Mandy Elsas (Eds.), Bloodywood. Ghanaian Film Posters from the Collection of Mandy Elsas (pp. 22-27). Amsterdam: Vintage Voodoo.
  2016 - Popularising publications
Meyer, B. (07.05.2016). Religie is vooral iets wat mensen doen. NRC
  2016 - Other output
B. Meyer (14.07.2016) Convened with Abdoulaye Sounaye (ZMO), Marloes Janson (SOAS) & Kai Kresse (Columbia University/visiting fellow BGSMCS).
B. Meyer (08.04.2016) How to Capture the Wow
B. Meyer (06.04.2016) How to Capture the Wow
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. (2015). Art, Anthropology and Religion. Contribution to In Conversation “Secrets Under the Skin” (by Jill Flanders Crosby). Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, 11 (1), (pp. 113-115).
Meyer, B. (2015). How Pictures Matter. Religious Objects and the Imagination in Ghana. In Øivind Fuglerud & Leon Wainwright (Eds.), Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement (pp. 160-182). Berghahn.
Meyer, B. (2015). Picturing the Invisible. Visual Culture and the Study of Religion. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 27 (4-5), (pp. 333-360).
Meyer, B. (2015). Sensational Movies - Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana. (408 p.). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  2015 - Popularising publications
Beekers, D.T. & Meyer, B. (28.10.2015). Nieuwe vormen van het heilige. Nederlands Dagblad
  2015 - Other output
B. Meyer (23.11.2015) Authors Meets Critics. Session around my book Sensational Movies, Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana
B. Meyer (27.11.2015) Beyond the Second Commandment. Images, Image Wars and the Study of Religion
B. Meyer (19.11.2015) Beyond the Second Commandment. Images, Image Wars and the Study of Religion
B. Meyer (23.04.2015) Contested Figurations: Picturing the Divine and the Occult in Christian Ghana
B. Meyer (30.01.2015) co-organized with Jo Spaans
B. Meyer (07.05.2015) How Pictures Matter. Presentation at the occasion of the book launch of Objects and the Imagination (ed Øivind Fuglerud and Leon Wainwright)
B. Meyer (22.04.2015) Images and Imagination Across Local and Global Discourse
B. Meyer (28.08.2015) Integrating the Material, Bodily, and Sensual into the Study of Religion: a Round-table Discussion of Strategies and Approaches. Roundtable with Alexandra Grieser, Anne Koch, Ann Taves, Robert Yelle
B. Meyer (24.01.2015) Kaleidoscopes of Religion: Southeast Asia and Beyond. Roundtable, with Annette Hornbacher, Peter A. Jackson, Guido Sprenger and Boike Rehbein
B. Meyer (17.06.2015) Picturing the Invisible. Visual Culture and the Study of Religion
B. Meyer (05.03.2015) Seminar on Studying World Christianity: approaches, methods, case - studies
B. Meyer (06.03.2015) Studying World Christianity from a Material Angle
B. Meyer (22.09.2015) Symposium co-organized with Markus Balkenhol and Duane Jethro
  2014 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. (2014). Lessons From “Global Prayers”: How Religion Takes Place in the City. In J. Becker, K. Klingan, S. Lanz & K. Wildner (Eds.), Global Prayers. Contemporary Manifestations of the Religious in the City (pp. 590-599) (10 p.). Zurich: Lars Mueller Publishers.
Meyer, Birgit (2014). Mediation and the Genesis of Presence (reprint of inaugural lecture), with a response on comments by Hans Belting, Pamela Klassen, Chris Pinney, Monique Scheer. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 5, (pp. 205-254) (50 p.).
  2014 - Other output
B. Meyer (17.10.2014) Behind the Screen: Ghanaian Video-film Producers as New Cultural Entrepreneurs. Presentation in the panel ‘Cultural entrepreneurship: Hypes, Identity and New Markets in Africa’
B. Meyer (27.11.2014) Building Icons – Iconic Buildings. Workshop co-organized with Daan Beekers
B. Meyer (06.09.2014) Comment on keynote by Dena Freeman (Rupture and Continuity in Pentecostalism and the Implications for Development), GLOPENT-Conference Pentecostalism and Development, SOAS, 6 September 2014.
B. Meyer (14.05.2014) Frontier Zones and Pluralities of Knowledge, Roundtable (featuring David Chidester, Ulrike Brunotte, Matthew Engelke, Axel Michaels), Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) ‘Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge’
B. Meyer (02.05.2014) Marett Lecture, Oxford, Exeter College, 2 May 2014
B. Meyer (16.04.2014) Material Mediations. Bodies and Things in the Study of Religion, Department of Literature and Art, Maastricht University, 16 April 2014.
B. Meyer (12.06.2014) Offensive Pictures. Religion and Art in Global Cultures. Conference co-organized with Christiane Kruse and Anne Marie Korte
B. Meyer (17.02.2014) Presentation at the Conference ‘Iconic Religion. How Imaginaries of Religious Encounter Structure Urban Space,’ CERES, Bochum, 17-19 February 2014
B. Meyer (02.04.2014) Religion, Media and Mediation in Africa and Beyond
B. Meyer (10.10.2014) Religious Evidences. Audiovisual Media, Narrativity and the Production of the Religious Real. Workshop co-organized with Annalisa Butticci and Adrian Hermann (Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies UU & NGG)
B. Meyer (30.10.2014) Sermon in the City. Workshop co-organized with Abdoulaye Sounaye
Meyer, Birgit (27.11.2014). Symposium Iconic buildings, building iconicity: Religious diversity, materiality and the transformation of urban space. co-organized with Birgit Meyer.
B. Meyer (12.05.2014) Visual Culture and the Study of Religion. Keynote at the Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) ‘Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge,’ Groningen 12 May 2014.
B. Meyer (11.11.2014) Why and How Things Matter. Bodies, Objects and the Divine.
B. Meyer (07.11.2014) Witchcraft in Ghanaian Movies. Presentation at the International Workshop ‘The Future of Witchcraft in Africa,’ Leiden University, 7 November 2014
  2013 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. & de Witte, M. (2013). Heritage and the Sacred, Special Issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief. London: Bloomsbury Journals.
Meyer, B. & de Witte, M. (2013). Heritage and the Sacred: Introduction. Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, 9 (3), (pp. 274-280) (7 p.).
Meyer, B. (2013). Material Mediations and Religious Practices of World-making. In K. Lundby (Eds.), Religion Across Media: From Early Antiquity to Late Modernity (pp. 1-19) (19 p.). New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.
Meyer, B. (2013). Mediation and Immediacy. Sensational Forms, Semiotic Ideologies and the Question of the Medium. In J. Boddy & M. Lambek (Eds.), A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion (pp. 309-326) (18 p.). Wiley-Blackwell.
  2013 - Other output
B. Meyer (15.05.2013) ‘The Prosperity Gospel’ in the spotlight: The appeal of Pentecostalism in West-Africa and the Netherlands.
B. Meyer (26.09.2013) Capitalism, Religion and the Value of Things
B. Meyer (18.03.2013) Habitats and Habitus – Politics and Aesthetics of Religious World Making
B. Meyer (11.01.2013) Habitats and Habitus. Politics and Aesthetics of Religious World-Making. Workshop co-organized with Kai Kress
B. Meyer (23.01.2013) Heritage, Performance and the Every Day
B. Meyer (18.04.2013) How Pictures Matter
B. Meyer (23.04.2013) How Pictures Matter
B. Meyer (27.06.2013) IAI-Panel: Studying Christianity and Islam in Africa. Co-Convened with John Peel
B. Meyer (11.01.2013) Key Issues in the Study of Christianity in Africa and Beyond
B. Meyer (18.09.2013) Past Trajectories – New Directions: The Study of Religion Today
B. Meyer (14.05.2013) Picturing the occult. How Ghanaian video-movies transfigure the popular Christian imaginary
B. Meyer (23.01.2013) Politics of Authentication and Aesthetics of Persuasion
B. Meyer (04.11.2013) Prayer, Architecture, History
B. Meyer (12.12.2013) Sensational Pictures. Visual Culture, Objects and the Study of Religion
  2012 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. (2012). Christianity in Africa: From African Independent to Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches. (shortened reprint of article in Annual Review of Anthropology, with a new epilogue). The Wiley Blackwell Compagnion to African Religions. (pp. 153-170) (18 p.). Oxford and Malden: Blackwell.
Meyer, B. (2012). Comment on T. Luhrman, A Hyperreal God and Modern Belief. Toward and Anthropological Theory of Mind. Current Anthropology, 53 (4), (pp. 388-389) (2 p.).
de Witte, M. & Meyer, B. (2012). Entertainment Media and Visual Aesthetics in Ghana. Civilisations, 61 (1), (pp. 43-64) (22 p.).
Meyer, B. (2012). Introduction. Material Religion – How Things Matter. Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality. (pp. 1-23) (23 p.). New York: Fordham University Press.
Meyer, B. (2012). Religious and Secular, ‘Spiritual’ and ‘Physical’ in Ghana. What Matters? Ethnographies of Value in a (Not So) Secular Age. (pp. 86-118) (33 p.). Columbia University Press.
Meyer, B. (2012). Religious Sensations: Media, Aesthetics, and the Study of Contemporary Religion. (shortened version of Religious Sensations, 2008). Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. (pp. 159-170) (12 p.). Routledge.
Meyer, B. & Houtman, D. (2012). Things. Religion and the Question of Materiality. New York: Fordham.
Meyer, B. (2012). Unexpected Synergies. Contribution to In Conversation “Locating the Textual Gaze. Then and Now”. Material Religion, 8 (4), (pp. 530-531) (2 p.).
  2012 - Other output
B. Meyer (23.05.2012) New Directions in the Study of Pentecostalism (with Martha Frederiks & Henri Gooren)
B. Meyer (27.10.2012) • Moving Pictures. Videos, Spirits and the Popular Imagination in Ghana.
B. Meyer (31.05.2012) Creativity in Transition. Politics and Aesthetics of Circulating Images (with Maruska Svasek & Rhoda Woets),
B. Meyer (05.06.2012) Cultural politics and the perils of belonging (with Irene Stengs and Heike Becker).
B. Meyer (15.02.2012) Film as Revelation.
B. Meyer (14.09.2012) Habitus and Habitats, Politics and Aesthetics of Religious Worldmaking.
B. Meyer (22.06.2012) Material Mediations. Politics and Aesthetics of Religious World Making
B. Meyer (13.02.2012) Material Mediations: Religion in the World, Keynote, Conference Religion Across Media.
B. Meyer (26.10.2012) Mediation and the Genesis of Presence. Towards a Material Approach of Religion.
Meyer, B. (19.10.2012). Mediation and the genesis of presence. Towards a material approach to religion. (56 p.). Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht.
B. Meyer (18.10.2012) Mediation, Materiality and the Study of Religion
B. Meyer (04.05.2012) Mediation: Forms and Formats of World-Making Keynote, Sant Naf Konferens on Mediation
B. Meyer (03.07.2012) Moving Pictures. Videos, Spirits and the Popular Imagination in Ghana.
B. Meyer (31.03.2012) Religie als menselijke schepping.
  2011 - Scholarly publications
Meyer, B. (2011). Going and Making Public. Some Reflections on Pentecostalism as Public Religion in Ghana. Christianity and Public cluture in Africa Columbus: Ohia University Press.
Meyer, B., Morgan, D., Paine, C. & Plate, S.B. (2011). Introduction: Key Words in Material Religion. Material Religion, 7 (1), (pp. 4-9) (6 p.).
Meyer, B. (2011). Mediating Absence - Effecting Spiritual Presence. Pictures and the Christian Imagination. "Image as Action, Image in Action". Social Research, 78.
Meyer, B. (2011). Mediation and Immediacy. Sensational Forms, Semiotic Ideologies and the Question of the Medium. Social Anthropology, 19 (1), (pp. 23-39) (17 p.).
Meyer, B., Morgan, D., Paine, C. & Plate, S.B. (2011). Medium. Material Religion, 7 (1), (pp. 58-67) (10 p.).
  2011 - Professional publications
Meyer, B. (2011). Self-contained. Glamorous Houses and Modes of Personhood in Ghanaian Video-movies. Bodies of Belonging. Inhabiting Worlds in Rural West Africa.
  1800 - Scholarly publications
  0 - Other output
B. Meyer () Mediation and Mediatization – Concepts of Time and Space
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Research projects 

2016-2024: Religious Matters in an Entangled World. Things, Food, Bodies and Texts as Entry Points to the Material Study of Religion in Plural Settings. Research program made possible thanks to the Spinoza-award (NWO) and the Academyprofessor prize (KNAW). 

2013-2016: Iconic religion. How Imaginaries of Religious Encounter Structure Urban Space (ICOREL), with Prof Volkhard Krech, Bochum (PL) and Prof Kim Knott (Lancaster); BM is the PI for the Dutch sub-project, 1 postdoc. 

2013-2016: Currents of faith, places of history: religious diasporas, connections, moral circumscriptions and world-making in the Atlantic space, (CURRENTS), with Dr Ramon Sarro, Lisbon/Bergen (PL), Dr David Berliner, Brussels, and Dr Ramon Sarro (Oxford); BM is the PI for the Dutch sub-project (2 part-time postdocs). 

2012-2017: Habitus and Habitat. Politics and Aesthetics of Religious World-Making. Project hosted by the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, in collaboration of the Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Utrecht University (2 PhD-students).

2010-2013: Cultural performance, belonging and citizenship in contemporary South Africa Sanpad project 10-13, I am the “Dutch partner,” in colaboration with Dr Heike Becker, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

2010-2013: Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement (CIM),  with Maruska Svasek (Belfast, Project leader, BM is the PI for the NL-subproject), [2 part-time postdocs]. 

2008-2013 Research grant (principal investigator) by NWO for the research program ‘Heritage Dynamics: Politics of Authentication and Aesthetics of Persuasion in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and the Netherlands’ [3 Phd students, 1 postdoc].

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Currently prof. dr. Birgit Meyer teaches the following course(s):
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Additional functions and activities

chair  Kamer Levensbeschouwing, NTR (sinds 2016)

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Full name
prof. dr. B. Meyer Contact details
Janskerkhof 13

Janskerkhof 13
Room 101
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 3838
Janskerkhof 2

Janskerkhof 2
Room 1.01
3512 BK  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 3838
Phone number (department) +31 30 253 3900
E-mail
B.Meyer@uu.nl
Mobile phone +31 65 377 2506
Postal address
Janskerkhof 13
3512 BL    UTRECHT
The Netherlands

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Gegenereerd op 2017-09-26 09:30:34
Last updated 31.12.2016