Profile

Christoph Baumgartner is Associate Professor of Ethics in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Fellow of Religious Studies at University College Utrecht.

Principal topics of his current research and teaching are religion in the public sphere, freedom of religion and freedom of expression, tolerance, citizenship, 'national identity', secularity and (post-)secularism, environmental ethics and climate change.

Involved in the following study programme(s)
Scientific expertise
religion in the public sphere
freedom of religion
blasphemy
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Curriculum vitae

Christoph Baumgartner studied theology and chemistry. He received his PhD from Tübingen University (Germany), with a specialization on social and political ethics.
2001-2004 he worked as academic coordinator of the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW).

He joined Utrecht University in 2004.
In 2008-2008 he was research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies NIAS and member of a research group studying the reception of Augustine (his own research concerned just war tradition).
From 2009 until 2016 he was director of the Research Institute for Theology and Religious Studies (INTEGON) and the Research Institute for Philosophy and Religious Studies (OFR).

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Key publications

Baumgartner, Christoph (2014). Re-examining an Ethics of Citizenship in Postsecular Societies. In Bolette Blaagaard, Rosi Braidotti, Tobijn de Graauw & Eva Midden (Eds.), Transformations of Religion and the Public Sphere - Postsecular Publics (pp. 77-96) (20 p.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Baumgartner, C. (2009). Formelle und informelle Ausgrenzung in kulturell pluralen Gesellschaften. Jahrbuch für Christliche Sozialwissenschaften, 50, (pp. 165-197) (33 p.).

All publications
Baumgartner, C. (2017). Islamophobie und die Kulturalisierung und quasi-religiöse Färbung von Bürgerschaft in den Niederlanden. In Walter Lesch (Eds.), Christentum und Populismus - Klare Fronten? (pp. 126-135). Freiburg: Herder Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2017). Offense and Injury at the Denigration of Religion. In Mahmoud Masaeli & Rico Sneller (Eds.), The Root Causes of Terrorism. A Religious Studies Perspective (pp. 78-93). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Baumgartner, C. (2017). Transformations of Stewardship in the Anthropocene. In Celia Deane-Drummond, Sigurd Bergmann & Markus Vogt (Eds.), Religion and the Anthropocene (pp. 53-66). Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
Baumgartner, C. (2017). Worden we toleranter als we religieuze scholen afschaffen?. In Beatrice de Graaf & Alexander Rinnooy Kan (Eds.), Hoe zwaar is licht? Meer dan 100 dringende vragen aan de wetenschap (pp. 27-29). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Balans.
Baumgartner, C. (2016). Conflations and gaps. A response to Nicholas Wolterstorff’s ‘toleration, justice, and dignity’. International Journal of Philosophy and Theology, 76 (5), (pp. 387-391).
Baumgartner, C. (2016). Liefde tegen de moraal? Een filosofische analyse van Huckleberry Finns innerlijke worsteling op de vlottocht over de Mississippi. In Johan Goud (Eds.), Door woorden gekust. Talen van de liefde (pp. 131-142). Zoetermeer: Klement.
Baumgartner, C. (2016). Religiöse Diversität in den Niederlanden. Zwischen historischer Signatur und gesellschaftlicher Herausforderung. Amos international, 10 (4), (pp. 24-33).
Baumgartner, C. & van Renswoude, Irene (2015). Heresy. In Robert A. Segal & Kocku van Stuckrad (Eds.), Vocabulary for the Study of Religion Brill.
Baumgartner, Christoph (2015). Naturvorstellungen im Anthropozän und ihre Relevanz für unsere Pflichten gegenüber zukünftigen Generationen. In Elisabeth Gräb-Schmidt (Eds.), Was heißt Natur? Philosophischer Ort und Begründungsfunktion des Naturbegriffs (pp. 195-210). Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt.
Baumgartner, Christoph & van Renswoude, Irene (2014). Censorship, Free Speech and Religion. In Paul Hedges (Eds.), Controversies in Contemporary Religion - Education, Law, Politics, Society, and Spirituality (pp. 123-151) (29 p.). Santa Barbara, Ca: Praeger.
Baumgartner, C. (14.06.2014) Keynote speaker Is There Such a Thing as an Offensive Picture?' Lecture at the Symposium Offensive Pictures / Religion and Art in Global Cultures Kiel (12.06.2014 - 14.06.2014) 'Is There Such a Thing as an Offensive Picture?' Lecture at the Symposium Offensive Pictures / Religion and Art in Global Cultures at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule. Forum für Interdisziplinäre Studien, Kiel.
Baumgartner, Christoph (2014). Re-examining an Ethics of Citizenship in Postsecular Societies. In Bolette Blaagaard, Rosi Braidotti, Tobijn de Graauw & Eva Midden (Eds.), Transformations of Religion and the Public Sphere - Postsecular Publics (pp. 77-96) (20 p.). Palgrave Macmillan.
Baumgartner, C. (28.10.2014) Invited speaker ESF Conference Rights to a Green Future Soesterberg (28.10.2014 - 31.10.2014) Time Matters. Stewardship, climate ethics, and conceptions of the future.
Baumgartner, C. (29.10.2013) Invited speaker invited lecture at theUniversity of California (Berkeley) (29.01.2013) Blasphemy and Democratic Citizenship
Baumgartner, C. (24.08.2013) Invited speaker Conference Climate Change, Sustainability and an Ethics of an Open Future Soesterberg, Netherlands (24.01.2013) Climate Ethics in the Anthropocene. An Analysis of Our Moral Obligations to Future Generations in a New Geological Epoch
Baumgartner, C. (25.09.2013) Invited speaker Annual Conference of the ‘Fachgruppe Systematische Theologie der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie’ Würzburg (25.01.2013) Der Naturbegriff im Anthropozän und Überlegungen im Hinblick auf seine Relevanz für moralische Pflichten gegenüber zukünftigen Generationen
Baumgartner, C. (2013). Moral problems of new technologies. In T. Lovat & J Arthur (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Education, Religion and Values (pp. 239-250) (12 p.). London and New York: Routledge.
Baumgartner, C. (2013). 'Secular Critique' of Protests against Religiously Offensive Acts. A Threat Against Democracy?. In G.J. Buijs, J.T. Sunier & P.G.A. Versteeg (Eds.), Risky Liaisons? Democracy and Religion: Reflections and Case Studies (pp. 112-127) (16 p.). Amsterdam: VU University Press.
Baumgartner, C. (18.09.2013) Organiser Symposium co-organized with Birgit Meyer and Christian Lange (18.01.2013) Title: Past Trajectories – New Directions: The Study of Religion Today
Baumgartner, C. (2013). War. In K. Pollmann (Eds.), The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine (pp. 1400-1406) (7 p.). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Baumgartner, C. (2011). Welche Religion in welchen Niederlanden? Überlegungen zur kulturellen und religiösen Diversität. Theologie der Gegenwart, 54, (pp. 242-252) (11 p.).
Baumgartner, C. (27.08.2010) Invited speaker ESPR Conference 2010: Religion in the Public Sphere Oxford (27.01.2010)
Baumgartner, C. (2010). 'Just war is not just about war.' Internationale Gerechtigkeit und 'Krieg gegen den Terrorismus' bei Jean Bethke Elshtain. In K. Gabriel, C. Spieß & K. Winkler (Eds.), Religion - Gewalt - Terrorismus: Religionssoziologische und ethische Analysen (pp. 52-66) (15 p.). Paderborn: Schöningh Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2010). Religion: Integrationsmotor oder -hemmnis? Überlegungen im Anschluss an das vielgestaltige Konzept "Identität". In M. Becka (Eds.), Identitäten - Zugehörigkeiten - Grenzen. Migration als sozialethische Herausforderung (pp. 147-164) (18 p.). Paderborn: Schöningh.
Baumgartner, C. (2009). Formelle und informelle Ausgrenzung in kulturell pluralen Gesellschaften. Jahrbuch für Christliche Sozialwissenschaften, 50, (pp. 165-197) (33 p.).
Baumgartner, C. (2009). Freiheit und Sicherheit in Jean Bethke Elshtains Arbeiten zum "Just War against Terror". Eine kritische Analyse im Licht von Elshtains Augustinusrezeption. In J. Frühbauer (Eds.), Freiheit Sicherheit Risiko. Christliche Sozialethik vor neuen Herausforderungen (pp. 85-98) (14 p.). Münster: Aschendorff Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (25.08.2009) Invited speaker Paper presentation at the VISOR-conference Democracy, Religion and Culture Amsterdam (25.01.2009) 'Secular Critique’ of Religious Protest – Threat for or Promoter of Democracy?
Baumgartner, C. (2008). Bionanotechnology: A New Challenge for Ethical Reflection?. In Fabrice Jotterand (Eds.), Emerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in Bionanotechnology (pp. 67-84) (18 p.). Springer Science + Business Media.
Baumgartner, C. (2008). 'Ein Mann, wie du, bleibt da nicht stehen, wo der Zufall der Geburt ihn hingeworfen...' Uberlegungen zur moralischen Relevanz des Charakters von Religion. In Annette Merz Bob Becking (Eds.), Verhaal als Identiteits-Code (pp. 30-39) (10 p.). Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht.
Baumgartner, C. (2007). Grenzen der Rede von der Verantwortung des Wissenschaftlers. In Societas Ethica (Eds.), Societas Ethica. European Society for Research in Ethics (pp. 260-280) (21 p.). Erlangen: Societas Ethica.
Baumgartner, C. (2007). Inklusion und Meinungsfreiheit. Sozialethische Probleme indirekter religionsbezogener Kränkungen und Beleidigungen. In Alexander Filipovic Klaus Oostenryc Christiane Eckstein (Eds.), Beteiligung - Inklusion - Integration. Sozialethische Konzepte für die moderne Gesellschaft (pp. 203-219) (17 p.). Münster: Aschendorff Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2007). Meinungsfreiheit - eine Herausforderung für religiöse Identitäten. In Stefan Heuser Arne Manzeschke Alexander Deeg (Eds.), Identität. Biblische und theologische Erkundungen (pp. 120-141) (22 p.). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Baumgartner, C. (2007). Religious identities in liberal societies - to be protected against 'offensive speech'?. Political Ethics and International Order. Annual Report of Societas Ethica (pp. 307-316) (10 p.). Annual Report of Societas Ethica.
Baumgartner, C. (2007). Religiously Offensive Speech and Freedom of Expression in Liberal Democratic Societies. In S. Heuser & H. Ulrich (Eds.), Political Practices and International Order (pp. 116-131) (16 p.). Münster: Lit Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. & Mieth, D. (2006). Biopatentierung - Ziele, Probleme und ethische Aspekte. Kriterien Biomedizinischer Ethik. Theologische Beitrage zum gesellschaftlichen Diskurs (pp. 275-291) (17 p.). Freiburg i. Br.: Herder Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2006). Exlusion by Inclusion? On Difficulties with regard to an Effective Ethical Assessment of Patenting in the Field of Agricultural Bio-Technology. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 19 (6), (pp. 521-539) (19 p.).
Baumgartner, C. (2006). Nanotechnologie in der Medizin als Gegenstand ethischer Reflexion. In J. Schummer A. Schwarz A. Nordmann (Eds.), Nanotechnologie im Kontext: philosophische, ethische und gesellschaftliche Perspectiven. (pp. 325-343) (19 p.). Berlin: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft.
Baumgartner, C. (2006). Theological Ethics without Theology? Assessing Theological-Ethical Reflection of Moral Challenges Posed by Pluralism in Relation to Theology. Concilium. International Journal of Theology, (pp. 53-64) (12 p.).
Baumgartner, C. (2005). Ausschluss durch Aufnahme? Über Schwierigkeiten einer effektiven ethischen Beurteilung der Patentierung im Bereich der Agrarbiotechnologie. In Th. Potthast, C. Baumgartner & E.-M. Engels (Eds.), Die richtigen Maße für die Nahrung? Biotechnologie, Landwirtschaft und Nahrungsmittel in ethischer Perspektive (pp. 287-308) (22 p.). Tübingen: Francke-Verlag.
Baumgartner, C., Potthast, Th. & Engels, E.-M. (2005). Die richtigen Maße fur die Nahrung? Biotechnologie, Landwirtschaft und Nahrungsmittel in ethischer Perspektive. (319 p.). Tübingen: Francke-Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2005). Umweltethik - Umwelthandeln. Ein Beitrag zur Lösung des Motivationsproblems. (344 p.). Paderborn: Mentis Verlag.
Baumgartner, C. (2004). Bio-patenting in the field of agriculture as a problem for ethics. In J de Tavernier & S Alerts (Eds.), Science, Ethics & Society (pp. 217-220) (4 p.). Leuven.
Baumgartner, C. (2004). Ethische Aspekte nanotechnologischer Forschung und Entwicklung in der Medizin. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, B 23-24, (pp. 39-46) (8 p.).
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How should we deal with religious diversity in the public sphere of liberal-democratic societies? And more specifically, what does ‘good citizenship’ mean, and which forms of religion and secularity are appropriate in contexts of religious diversity? In order to answer question such as these, I analyse recent controversies about religious issues, for instance:

  • the public display of images that many religious people experience as offensive and disrespectful (e.g. Andres Serrano’s art work ‘Piss Christ’, or Muhammad cartoons);
  • the practice of not shaking hands with the opposite sex as an example of a bodily practice that disrupts and unsettles culturally predominant expectations and norms of civility;
  • publicly shared time, for instance, the official calendar that includes holy days of certain religions (albeit in culturalised forms), but not of others, and the public commemoration – or ‘oblivion’ – of the past.

 

I approach such controversies from a political philosophical perspective that is informed by current research in anthropology, history, political theory, religious studies and sociology. I am particularly interested in how normative principles such as freedom of religion and moral and political equality are invoked, and how they actually function in liberal-democratic and pluralistic societies. Moreover, I inquire which formal and informal institutions, norms, values and sensibilities enable or hamper people with different religions to fully participate in social and political interactions.

The final aim of this research is to provide a political philosophical theory that includes a concept of citizenship on the one hand, and a critical theory of religion and secularity on the other hand. This will allow us to better understand conflicts such as those mentioned above, and to develop even-handed solutions for societies that aspire to be open and resilient with respect to the challenges resulting from religious diversity.

Completed projects

Project:
Religious and cultural identity markers for children in state interventions 01.02.2014 to 31.08.2015
General project description




The media have recently reported on several cases involving minority families in which youth care agencies intervened because the emotional and physical development of childresn was at stake. The dominant secular societal and legal norms concerning the development of children into balanced individuals appear to clash with religious and cultural norms. Preliminary research has confirmed that childcare workers and judges lack an evaluative framework through which to determine how the interests of society and parents should be weighed against interests relating to the future identity of the child. This multidisciplinary research project investigates the way(s) and extent to which state agencies should take account of religious and cultural influences upon the development of children's identities when taking child protection measures. The aims are twofold. Firstly, to establish building blocks for a framework that enables professionals in the field to identify and understand the multiple components that constitute the complex cases involving minorities in which child protection measures are considered. Secondly, to provide a solid foundation for future research into the legitimacy of state interventions in cases concerning child protection in today's pluralistic European societies. 





 
Role Researcher Funding
Utrecht University: Youth and Identity, Utrecht University
Project members UU
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Currently dr. Christoph Baumgartner teaches the following course(s):
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Full name
dr. C. Baumgartner Contact details
Janskerkhof 13a

Janskerkhof 13A
Room 1.14
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (department) +31 30 253 1982
Janskerkhof 13

Janskerkhof 13
Room 1.14
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 1982
Phone number (department) +31 30 253 4399
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Last updated 14.09.2017