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Religions have always been the engine of political and social change – both in the past and in the present. The Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” investigates these dynamics of religion and politics from a historical, comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. In doing so, it focuses on the intrinsic power of religion in different political and social contexts, and on the dynamics of tradition and innovation specific to religion.

The work of the Cluster of Excellence focuses on the research questions of how religion can stimulate, contain and modify social and political conflicts; on what it derives its dynamic power from, in the past and present, and in different cultures; and on which external conditions foster or limit its ability to mobilize people.

The research of the Cluster of Excellence is marked by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and methodological diversity. Hardly any other institution of religious research in Germany and abroad encompasses such a broad spectrum of subjects, methods, religions, epochs and cultures. This results in a unique combination of historical and contemporary questions, theoretical and empirical perspectives, normative and descriptive approaches, as well as denominational and non-denominational religious research. Digital Humanities methods play a prominent role in the research work of the Cluster of Excellence.

Through the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, the University of Münster has become a beacon for interdisciplinary research on religion both in Germany and abroad in terms of size and the range of disciplines, methods, cultures and time periods that it covers. From 2025, a globally unique "Campus of Theology and Religious Studies" will bring together Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic theology and institutions of non-denominational religious research at the university and promote inter- and transdisciplinary as well as interreligious exchange. Numerous research institutions and third-party funded networks offer an optimal research environment for the academic examination of the tension between religion and politics.