Research and current research clusters

Research group

Religion and Aesthetics

The research group explores the complex relation between religion and aesthetics.

RaT's research is grouped into thematic clusters, all of which deal with the exploration of transformation processes in the interplay between religions and society. The first eight clusters were created during the fourth term of the research centre (April 2018 – March 2022); newly added content in the current, fifth term of the research centre (April 2022 – March 2026) begins with cluster 9. Interdisciplinary networks in research on religion and individual focus areas and interests of RaT members are contextualised and brought together in these clusters. The diversity of the disciplines involved enables the research centre to approach topics from various perspectives and to apply empirical and hermeneutic methods. The analysis of social processes of transformation is thus part of the work at RaT, as is the interpretation of those religious texts that carry meaning for the self-understanding of a specific society and its members.

The research of RaT focuses on the following clusters:

During the past terms of the research centre (or rather: research platform, as RaT was called during those terms), the work of RaT focused on the topics listed below. Whenever the results of a certain research topic were published in an issue of JRAT, the journal number is added in brackets.

During the first (March 2010 – March 2013) and the second term (April 2013 – March 2016) of the research platform, the different contributions of religion(s) to contemporary Europe were placed at the centre of the research. How and what religion can contribute to a new vision of Europe constituted core questions that connected all publications and projects of RaT members during these terms. „Rethinking Europe With(out) Religion“ became the guiding theme of conferences, workshops, and publications. Furthermore, this approach was complemented by specialised topics that shaped the academic discourse of religion during those years. Members thus cooperated in projects related to „Religion and Fundamentalism“ (JRAT 2/2016), the connections between religion and migration (JRAT 1/2017), religious pedagogy in secular societies or regarding religious diversity. 

In the third term (April 2016 – March 2018), RaT decided to broaden its view and expand its perspectives to regions and topics outside of Europe in order to contextualise and analyse the relation between culture and religion in changing global settings. In concrete terms, the question that guided the research in this term asked in how far religions have shaped the narratives and symbolic orders of global culture and continue to do so. Furthermore, questions were posed that sought to analyse how religions react to global challenges of our times (ecological crisis, crisis of representation (JRAT 2/2018), dialectic of processes of enlightenment, secularisation, pluralisation, urbanisation, technization). The common focus of research was the relation of religion and borders (JRAT 2/2019), in geographical, political, legal and symbolic regards. The perspective that asks what religions contribute to the building of borders and the potentials of subversively undermining them, accompanies the work of the research centre up until its current term (see JRAT 2/2019).