Profile

Daan Beekers is an anthropologist working on religious pluralism, religious commitment, materiality and heritage in the Netherlands, focusing on Christianity and Islam. He studied social and cultural anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Oxford. He obtained his PhD from VU University Amsterdam in 2015. His thesis entailed an ethnographic study of religious commitment among Muslim and Christian young adults in the Netherlands. He has been a postdoctoral researcher at this department since June 2014, at first within the HERA project ‘Iconic religion: How imaginaries of religious encounter structure urban space’ and since September 2016 within the research project Religious Matters in an Entangled World.

Building on his research on the use of already converted churches, Daan is currently studying the process of abandonment itself. In the Netherlands, hundreds of churches have closed their doors in the last couple of decades and, according to recent estimations, an astonishing average of four churches a week will face the same fate in the coming years. This continuing abandonment of churches often arouses passionate reactions among members of church congregations, heritage organizations, advisory committees, government bodies and local residents. The research project entails ethnographic fieldwork at a number of church buildings that are in the midst of being closed down, particularly in Utrecht, Amsterdam and nearby smaller towns and villages. Particular attention is payed to the ways in which public engagement with abandoned churches is shaped by, on the one hand, the subtle transformation that church buildings appear to be undergoing from sites of lived religion to sites of religious heritage and, on the other, today’s dynamic field of religious pluralism, which is characterized, among other things, by the presence of Islam and its built environment, (post)secular discourses and practices, and changes in Christian communities and their use of buildings.

See Daan's academia page for his publications.

Website of the digital exhibition produced within the Iconic Religion project: The Urban Sacred: How religion makes and takes place in Amsterdam, Berlin and London.

Just out: 

Straying from the Straight Path: How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books (co-edited with David Kloos).  

Gods huis in de steigers: religieuze gebouwen in ontwikkeling (Oskar Verkaaik with Daan Beekers and Pooyan Tamimi Arab; Amsterdam University Press).

 

Scientific expertise
materiality
heritage



Friday prayers at the Fatih Mosque in Amsterdam (photo: Daan Beekers)

Chassé Dance Studios in former Catholic church (photo: Daan Beekers)
Gegenereerd op 2018-06-24 18:31:08
All publications
  Books
Beekers, D.T. & Kloos, David (2018). Straying from the Straight Path - How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion. (146 p.). New York: Berghahn.
  Book parts / chapters
Beekers, D.T. (2018). Fitting God in - Secular Routines, Moral Failure and the Tranquility of Worship among Young Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands. Straying from the Straight Path - How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion (pp. 72-89) (18 p.). New York: Berghahn.
Kloos, David & Beekers, D.T. (2018). Introduction: The productive potential of moral failure inlived islam and christianity - The productive potential of moral failure. Straying from the Straight Path - How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion (pp. 1-19) (19 p.). New York: Berghahn.
Beekers, D.T. (2017). De waarde van verlaten kerken. Gods huis in de steigers: religieuze gebouwen in ontwikkeling (Oskar Verkaaik m.m.v. Daan Beekers en Pooyan Tamimi Arab) (pp. 161-192). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Beekers, D.T. (2017). Rode burcht, jezuïetenkerk, moskee. Gods huis in de steigers: religieuze gebouwen in ontwikkeling (Oskar Verkaaik m.m.v. Daan Beekers en Pooyan Tamimi Arab) (pp. 193-217). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Beekers, D.T. (2016). Sakrale Residuen/Sacred Residue. 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. Ausstellungskatalog/Exhibition catalogue (pp. 36-41). Berlin: Metropol.
  Articles
Beekers, D.T. & Tamimi Arab, Pooyan (2016). Dreams of an iconic mosque - Spatial and temporal entanglements of a converted church. Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, 12 (2), (pp. 137-164).
Beekers, D.T. (2015). A moment of persuasion - Travelling preachers and Islamic pedagogy in the Netherlands. Culture and Religion, 16 (2), (pp. 193-214).
Beekers, D.T. & Meyer, B. (28.10.2015). Nieuwe vormen van het heilige. Nederlands Dagblad
Beekers, D.T. (02.11.2015). Zonder kennis van religie is de wereld onbegrijpelijk (co-auteur). NRC Handelsblad
Beekers, Daan (2014). Pedagogies of piety - Comparing young observant Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands. Culture and Religion, 15 (1), (pp. 72-99).
  Websites / portals
  Other output
  Exhibition
  Conference
Beekers, D.T. (27.08.2015) Participant World congress of the international association for the history of religions Erfurt (23.08.2015 - 29.08.2015) The 'hidden mosque': Converted churches and the politics of (in)visibility in Amsterdam
Beekers, D.T. (31.10.2014) Participant International conference Sermon in the City Berlin (30.10.2014 - 31.10.2014) A moment of persuasion: Travelling Preachers and Islamic pedagogy in the Netherlands
  Workshop, seminar, course
Beekers, D.T. (16.06.2017) Organiser Gods huis: religieuze gebouwen in ontwikkeling Amsterdam (16.06.2017)
Beekers, D.T. (05.06.2016) Organiser Oud-katholieke parochie Amsterdam Amsterdam (05.06.2016) Sacrale stenen? Wat maakt religieuze gebouwen heilig? (public seminar co-organized with Peter-Ben Smit)
Beekers, D.T. (04.06.2016) Organiser Spui25 Amsterdam (04.06.2016) The urban sacred: het belang van kerkgebouwen in multireligieus Amsterdam (public seminar co-organized with Birgit Meyer)
Beekers, D.T. (04.06.2016) Participant The urban sacred: het belang van kerkgebouwen in multireligieus Amsterdam, Spui25 Amsterdam (04.06.2016) Panelgesprek
Beekers, D.T. (23.11.2015) Participant Culture, Media & Society seminar, Leuven University (23.11.2015) Pursuits of Faith: Toward a Comparative Anthropology of Muslims and Christians in Europe
Beekers, D.T. (27.11.2014) Organiser Iconic buildings, building iconicity: Religious diversity, materiality and the transformation of urban space (international symposium co-organized with Birgit Meyer), Utrecht University (27.11.2014)
Beekers, D.T. (27.11.2014) Participant Symposium Iconic buildings, building iconicity: Religious diversity, materiality and the transformation of urban space Utrecht (27.11.2014) Sacred residue: Converted churches in Amsterdam
  Invited talk
Beekers, D.T. (16.11.2017) Invited speaker KADOC seminariereeks Leuven (16.11.2017) De omstreden kerk: herbestemming, erfgoed en religieuze transformatie in Nederland
Beekers, D.T. (30.01.2017) Invited speaker International workshop Spaces and places of religious knowledge transfer in early modern cities Leiden (30.01.2017 - 02.02.2017) Iconic religion and material conversion in Amsterdam
Beekers, D.T. (24.01.2017) Invited speaker Bezinning in Heemstede en Bennebroek Heemstede (24.01.2017) Jong, gelovig én werelds: het geloofsstreven van jonge moslims en christenen in Nederland
Beekers, D.T. (09.06.2017) Invited speaker Iftar viering in de Voorkamer Utrecht (09.06.2017) Jonge moslims en christenen in Nederland
Beekers, D.T. (16.06.2017) Invited speaker Gods huis: religieuze gebouwen in ontwikkeling Amsterdam (16.06.2017) Paneldiscussie met Oskar Verkaaik en Pooyan Tamimi Arab
Beekers, D.T. (08.02.2017) Invited speaker Religion Media Body Heritage Seminar Amsterdam (01.09.2017 - 30.06.2018) The contested church: Some notes on Christian material heritage
Beekers, D.T. (12.10.2017) Invited speaker Interdisciplinary Research Conference Religious Minorities’ Self-representations. Claims of Difference and Sameness in the Politics of Belonging Utrecht (11.10.2017 - 13.10.2017) Traces of religious diversity in Utrecht (guided tour)
Beekers, D.T. (04.06.2016) Invited speaker The urban sacred: het belang van kerkgebouwen in multireligieus Amsterdam, Spui25 Amsterdam (04.06.2016) Herbestemde kerken als cultureel-religieuze knooppunten
Beekers, D.T. (02.04.2016) Invited speaker International symposium Religion in Urban Contexts, Utrecht University Utrecht (01.04.2016 - 02.04.2016)
Beekers, D.T. (24.03.2016) Invited speaker PhD café (Platform INS) Rotterdam (24.03.2015) Jonge moslims en christenen in Nederland: een antropologisch onderzoek naar verschillen, overeenkomsten en gezamenlijke uitdagingen
Beekers, D.T. (19.05.2016) Invited speaker Adelbert Vereniging Utrecht e.o. (19.05.2016) Kwetsbare vroomheid: het geloofsstreven van jonge moslims en christenen in Nederland
Beekers, D.T. (26.05.2015) Invited speaker Postsecular Nationalism Workshop Utrecht (08.04.2015 - 28.10.2015) On being Christian without being a Christian
Beekers, D.T. (14.10.2015) Invited speaker Lezingenreeks Denken in de driehoek Utrecht (14.10.2015) Sacrale gebouwen: over heiligheid en herbestemming (met Birgit Meyer)
  Oral presentation
Beekers, D.T. (29.11.2017) Invited speaker Workshop Heritage, Religion, Authenticity and Difference Berlin (29.11.2017) Christian heritage and its others: Modalities of memory and nostalgia in the Netherlands
Beekers, D.T. (20.10.2017) Presenter NGG Conference: Dynamics of Religious Diversity Utrecht (19.10.2017 - 20.10.2017) Common pathways: Directions and challenges in the ethnographic comparison of Muslims and Christians (organizer panel)
Beekers, D.T. (23.03.2017) Invited speaker Modalities of Co-existence Across Religious Difference Berlin (22.03.2017 - 24.03.2017) Contribution to roundtable on comparison
Beekers, D.T. (18.04.2017) Invited speaker Does the Secular Matter? Utrecht (18.04.2017) How to take the study of secular materiality further? Developing tools and concepts to encourage future inquiries into the secular (contribution to roundtable)
Beekers, D.T. (02.06.2017) Invited speaker Christian-Muslim Encounters: Perspectives on interreligious co-existence from Asia, Africa and Europe Utrecht (02.06.2017) Pious aspirations, secular routines: A comparative ethnography of young Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands
Beekers, D.T. (20.10.2017) Speaker NGG Conference: Dynamics of Religious Diversity Utrecht (19.10.2017 - 20.10.2017) Pursuing a Religious Path under Secular Conditions: Construing Muslim-Christian Comparability and the Politics of Distinction in the Netherlands
Beekers, D.T. (19.09.2017) Speaker EASR Conference Leuven Leuven (18.09.2017 - 21.09.2017) The building speaks: Converted churches as markers of post-Christian distinctiveness in the Netherlands
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2016 - present: Research on church closure in the Netherlands within the project Religious Matters in an Entangled World

Building on my research on the use of already converted churches, I am currently studying the process of abandonment itself. In the Netherlands, hundreds of churches have closed their doors in the last couple of decades and, according to recent estimations, an astonishing average of four churches a week will face the same fate in the coming years. This continuing abandonment of churches often arouses passionate reactions among members of church congregations, heritage organizations, advisory committees, government bodies and local residents. The research project entails ethnographic fieldwork at a number of church buildings that are in the midst of being closed down, particularly in Utrecht, Amsterdam and nearby smaller towns and villages. Particular attention is payed to the ways in which public engagement with abandoned churches is shaped by, on the one hand, the subtle transformation that church buildings appear to be undergoing from sites of lived religion to sites of religious heritage and, on the other, today’s dynamic field of religious pluralism, which is characterized, among other things, by the presence of Islam and its built environment, (post)secular discourses and practices, and changes in Christian communities and their use of buildings. 

2014 - 2016: Research on converted churches in Amsterdam within the project project Iconic Religion

See the project description on the website of Iconic Religion. 

Website of the digital exhibition produced within the Iconic Religion project: The Urban Sacred: How religion makes and takes place in Amsterdam, Berlin and London.

Publications based on this research project:

 

2009 - 2014: PhD research on young Muslims and Christians in the Netherlands 

Publications based on my PhD research (for links, see 'publications'):

  • 'Pedagogies of piety' in Culture and Religion
  • 'A moment of persuasion' in Culture and Religion
  • 'Vroomheid en seksualiteit' in Radix
  • 'The productive potential of moral failure' in Straying from the Straight Path
  • 'Fitting God in' in Straying from the Straight Path
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Currently dr. Daan Beekers teaches the following course(s):
CodeDescriptionF/PLevelECTS
RS3V17001 Onderzoeksseminar V 3 7.5
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Additional functions and activities

No additional functions

Gegenereerd op 2018-06-24 18:31:09
Full name
dr. D.T. Beekers Contact details
Janskerkhof 13

Janskerkhof 13
Room -
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 0000
Janskerkhof 13

Janskerkhof 13
Room -
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Gegenereerd op 2018-06-24 18:31:09
Last updated 22.06.2018