Video series "Religion and Politics – Research Projects in Focus"

In the bilingual video series, “Research Projects in Focus”, researchers from the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” present their work in the interdisciplinary research association by way of interviews. Their topics range from the literature of the Mamluk realm, Jewish Medieval manuscripts and being forced to take on certain views in the Confessional age, to the justification of values and norms in modern times. The researchers describe their methods and results as well as what it is in particular that fascinates them about their field of research.

Scholar of Islamic Studies Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer
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Religion, Politics and Literature in the Mamluk Sultanate

Islamic texts from the Mamluk period (1250-1500) are often not yet explored: many literary works are only available as manuscripts and need to be tediously reconstructed. This rouses the exploratory spirit of the scholar of Islamic studies Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer. Together with his team of researchers, he edits the literary texts and analyses how they deal with the topic of religion and politics. He reports in a new episode of the video series Research Projects in Focus that the political discourse in the Mamluk period hat far less to do with religion, as is often assumed, and much more with pragmatism. The film gives insight into his research project “Religion, Politics and Literature in the Mamluk Sultanate” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Literary scholar Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf
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Conversion in Literature

When people change their beliefs or their worldview, this conversion is often reflected in literary texts. Literary scholar Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf has done research on many conversion stories of this kind. They can often be found in autobiographical texts – from different centuries. The literature of the modern age also describes conversions. The researcher detected – despite increasing secularisation – a new orientation towards religious topics in the German contemporary literature, as she relates in this episode of the video series Research projects in Focus. The film gives insight into her research project “Conversion in Literature” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Scholar of Jewish studies Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman-Appel
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Manuscript and Printing Press in Judaism

When scholar of Jewish studies Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman-Appel analyses Jewish manuscripts of the Middle Ages, she comes into direct contact with the past. The researcher, who addresses the transition of handwriting to printed books in the Jewish culture of the 15th century in particular, is enthusiastic about this physical connection. That e-books are replacing printed books today has a lot of similarities with the past – and people nowadays do not react much differently: some see chances in the new medium, others feel unsettled and worry about traditional cultural values. A new episode of the video series Research Projects in Focus gives insight into her research project “Manuscripts and Printing Press in Judaism” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Legal scholar Prof. Dr. Fabian Wittreck
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Religious and Legal Plurality

Religion and law are defining forces in every society. Legal scholar Prof. Dr. Fabian Wittreck is fascinated by how they meet sometimes with elemental force and lead to conflicts, especially in societies with many different religions. The academic analyses how the public welfare and the individual freedom of conscience may be reconciled. He reports in a new episode of the video series Research Projects in Focus why the pluralisation of law perhaps benefits the powerful in particular. The film gives insight into his research project “Religious and Legal Plurality” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Legal philosopher Prof. Dr. Thomas Gutmann
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Normative Modernity

How do we justify our norms in morality and in law? How do we assess different forms of life? In the past, people relied on religious arguments, today, the justification of norms has radically been secularised, says legal philosopher Prof. Dr. Thomas Gutmann. Even if mankind has, over millennia, developed religious systems of meaning: the legal expert only sees progress in Kant's concept of the equality of freedom of all people. What effects this has on the reasoning about norms in modern societies is explained by the scholar in a new episode of the video series Research Projects in Focus. It introduces the research project “Normative Modernity” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Egyptologist Prof. Dr. Angelika Lohwasser
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Religious Legitimisation in Ancient Egypt

About the field of tension religion and politics in ancient Egyptian times reports Egyptologist Prof. Dr. Angelika Lohwasser. She does research on Egypt's southern neighbours, who also ruled Egypt for a good 60 years as “black pharaohs”, and notes that the sacral kingdom of the Nubians adopted the Egyptian religion in order to assert their political reign. The video gives insight into her research project “Religious Legitimisation in Ancient Egypt” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack
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Religious Change in the Modern Age

What do people think of other religions? Do people in modern societies feel threatened by foreign cultures? Do they have prejudice against other religions? Sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack and his team analyse religious attitudes and practices, about acceptance of foreign religions and resistance to them. The film presents his research project “Religious Change in the Modern Age” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Historian Prof. Dr. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger
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Beyond Confessional Clarity

What does it mean for people to adopt a certain faith under the pressure of authorities? Early modern historian Prof. Dr. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger examines the 16th century when confessional churches were formed and the people had to adopt their ruler's faith. This did not always succeed, the people often react to it with opposition with dissimulation. The film gives insight into her research project “Beyond confessional clarity” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Scholar of Islamic Studies Prof. Dr. Norbert Oberauer
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Maxims in Islamic Law

In the video scholar of Islamic Studies Prof. Dr. Nobert Oberauer shows that Islamic law has changed far more than expected. The scholar traces this legal phenomenon , that has received only little attention so far: “Maxims”, rules of thumb and mnemonic phrases on legal issues of all kinds. The film gives insight into his research project “Maxims in Islamic Law” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Scholar of Religious Studies Prof. Dr. Perry Schmidt-Leukel
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Interreligious Theology

No world peace without peace between religions: Scholar of Religious Studies Prof. Dr. Perry Schmidt-Leukel examines what the great world religions think of each other and how they explain that there are more religious traditions other than their own. Never before has mankind been more aware of how many religions there are than today. This harbours a great potential for conflicts. If the religions and theologies manage, however, to come closer together, this has great potential for peace. The film gives insight into his research project “Interreligious Theology”.

Contemporary Historian Prof. Dr. Thomas Großbölting
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Contemporary History of Religions

Why does the German society today have difficulties with the diversity of religion in its country? Why do many people view the growing religious plurality sceptically and ask themselves which religion is the “right one”? Contemporary historian Prof. Dr. Thomas Großbölting is fascinated by analysing how religion has stirred people in recent German history The video gives insight into his research project “Contemporary History of Religions” at the Cluster of Excellence.

Historian Prof. Dr. Heike Bungert
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Civil Religion in the Inauguration of Presidents of the United States

When a new president is inaugurated in the US, the entire world looks at the ceremonies in Washington. Historian Prof. Dr. Heike Bungert looks behind the scenes of inauguration ceremonies – a field that has so far received little academic attendance. The scholar is often the first person to research the sources in the archives – and discovers to what extent religion and politics are intertwined in the United States. What does it mean to be God's chosen people? What clerics and what denominations are present at the celebrations? Does the future President swear his oath on a bible? If so, which bible does he use? Which traditional elements of the ceremony does he leave out? How the historian provides answers to such questions and weaves them into an extensive history of inaugurations is explained in a new episode of the video series Research Projects in Focus. She gives insight into her research project “Civil Religion in Inaugurations of U.S. Presidents” at the Cluster of Excellence.