“Religious dynamics still shape societies to this day”

New annual theme “Religious Dynamics” at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”

© exc

Press release 19 October 2022

The Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster will look in its third annual theme at “Religious Dynamics” from antiquity to the present day. The opening of the annual theme on Tuesday, 25 October will see members of the Cluster discuss how religions initiate, accelerate, promote, but also inhibit, social change. “Religions are often the driving forces behind such processes of change. Their patterns of interpretation play an important role in current crises and conflicts”, says religious scholar Prof. Dr. Astrid Reuter. She will discuss these and other religious dynamics with historian Prof. Dr. Wolfram Drews and sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack. The public discussion evening will take place in lecture hall JO 1, Johannisstraße 4, 48143 Münster and will begin at 6.15 pm. To participate digitally via Zoom, please register by e-mail at veranstaltungenEXC@uni-muenster.de.

Put together by Wolfram Drews and Astrid Reuter in cooperation with historian Prof. Dr. Silke Mende and literary scholar Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, the annual programme of the Cluster of Excellence will focus on religious dynamics from antiquity to the present day in public lectures, panels and discussion evenings, as well as film screenings and readings by contemporary authors, with scholars analyzing patterns of religious mobilization in the past and present. “Positive dynamics based on religious interpretations of the world should not be overlooked here: for example, groups are emerging in the Islamic community that are demanding space for Muslims in German society and that are providing institutional structures themselves, such as the Liberal Islamic Federation and the Ibn Rushd Goethe mosque in Berlin. The ‘House of One’ has also been established there to promote Jewish-Christian-Islamic dialogue”, say Drews and Reuter. The annual theme will take up ideas from the interdisciplinary work of the Cluster of Excellence and present them for discussion by way of examples.

Discussion evening on processes of renewal in and through religions

“We will explore dynamics within and between religions, as well as between religion and society”, explains Wolfram Drews on the opening discussion. The evening will be moderated by Dr. Angela Marciniak, political scientist and academic director of the Cluster. “In line with the intra-religious dimension of our discussion, we will explore how religious communities renew themselves from within. Are they adaptive or do they reactivate buried traditions?” The inter-religious dimension will focus on the dynamics that arise from the relationship between different religions. “Competition and dialogue between religious communities, mutual lines of demarcation, but also alliance and mixing – these can become factors of religious change”. Finally, the extra-religious dimension will focus on forms of religious dynamization that are triggered by the interplay with socio-cultural and historical contexts. “Religious communities are also boosted when they stand for non-religious interests and identities – as can be seen, for example, in the nationalistic implications of church membership in Russia”.

Start of the annual theme for 2022/2023 on “Religious Dynamics”

Addressing the contradictory and contrary research findings and trends, the annual theme “Religious Dynamics” will focus on how religiously motivated dynamics emerge and change, and how they are used by political and religious actors. It will also look at the effects that the dynamics trigger, and how they are questioned, reinterpreted and fought against. The annual theme will also discuss the degree to which religious feelings are mobilized, since religion uses very different emotions, ranging from love to hate. (sca/vvm)