Emotion and Religion in Times of Crisis

International Conference at the Cluster of Excellence

© exc

Religion is commonly associated with emotions – whether this is just or unjust depends on the concept of emotion used. The interdisciplinary conference explores this question as part of the annual theme “Religious Dynamics” at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, and discusses the complex relationship between emotion and religion. It works on the premise that in times of crisis, in which political and ideological orientations lose their uniting force, religion and religiosity undergo an emotional dynamization. Conversely, it also considers that religion itself becomes a crisis factor and a discrete phenomenon itself.

One example is the Thirty Years’ War, which plunged Europe into violent political turmoil and thereby functionalized religion – itself both a motor and a trigger of the confl ict – in such a way that people’s certainties of faith were challenged. Literature and the visual arts depict this in striking images. Another example is classical modernity, during which scientific progress, industrialization, colonization, and the experiences of the First World War disrupted assumed European worldviews providing opportunities for new religious aspirations beyond the established churches.

In contemporary society, perceptions of crisis – for example in the context of climate change, migration, or pandemic – lead to new emotional dynamics in relation to religion. Simultaneously, the abuse of power and child abuse scandals in the Christian churches contribute to the emotionalization of public consciousness. The crisis of the Christian churches, caused by a loss of members and prestige, is contrasted by assumptions of a world-wide political presence of religion and associated threats. This conference aims to understand the role of emotions in the dynamics of these processes. Accordingly, the conference aims to systematically and historically critique the complex concept of emotions (‘feeling’, ‘emotion’, ‘aff ect’), and to reconceptualize emotions in relation to processes of religious change. (exc/sca)


Thursday, 1 December 2022

Welcome and Introduction: ‘Emotion’, ‘Religion’, ‘Crisis’, ‘Dynamics / Dynamisation’

Section I: Emotion and Religion in the Context of Social Change
15.00 Existenzielle Gefühle und Religiosität
Rainer Schützeichel, Bielefeld
16.00 Coffee break
16.30 Emotion – Religion – Climate Crisis. Do Religions Contribute to an Emotional Dynamization in the Climate Discourse?
Hannah Klinkenborg / Doris Fuchs, Münster
19.00 Dinner
Friday, 2 December 2022
Section II: Emotional Dynamization of Religious Practices in Times of Crisis
10.00 Über die Grenzen der Sprache, Emotionen darzustellen
Karin Westerwelle, Münster
11.00 Coffee break
11.30 The Feeling of Forgetting: Christianity Fosters an Epistemic Emotion
John Corrigan, Florida State University
12.30 Lunch break
Section III: Representations of Religious Emotions. Language, Rhetoric, Discourse
13.30 Passio und compassio in der italienischen Literatur des Mittelalters: Zur Darstellung und Funktion von Emotionen in Marienklagen und in Boccaccios Decameron
Pia Doering / Andrea Ghidoni, Münster
14.30 Kollektives Klagen. Affektproduktion im ,Marienleben‘ Bruder Philipps
Bruno Quast, Münster
15.30 Coffee break
16.00 Zwischen Affekt und Dekorum: Die Compassio Mariens in Altarbildern um 1500
Eva Krems, Münster
17.00 Phantome der Leere? Denkbilder und Stilformen säkularisierter Emotion
Bettina Full, Bochum
19.00 Dinner
Saturday, 3 December 2022
Section IV: Identities in the Field of Tension between Emotion, Religion, and Crisis
9.00 Feeling Threatened by Refugees and Muslims: The Predictive Role of Political Ideology, Religiosity, and Perceived Societal Marginalization
Mitja Back / Fahima Farkhari / Bernd Schlipphak, Münster
10.00 Emotions, War, and Propaganda: Reports by Female Basle Missionaries in Kamerun During the First World War
Felicity Jensz, Münster
11.00 Coffee break
11.30 Performing Hate. Between Religion, Emotion and Discourse
Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf / Hanna Pulpanek / Henning Podulski, Münster
12.30 Concluding discussion
13.00 End of the conference


Location and registration

1 – 3 December 2022: Lecture hall JO 101, Johannisstr. 1, 48143 Münster, Germany
Register via e-mail or phone until 30 November with Dr. Nadine Willamowski:

ndlmwe@uni-muenster.de; +49 251 83-24430



Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf
Prof. Dr. Doris Fuchs
Theory platform ‘Emotionality’