Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professors

Renowned researchers from varying disciplines will be appointed to the “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship for Religion and Politics” of the Cluster of excellence, – named after the influential philosopher Hans Blumenberg (1920-1996) – e.g. from history, sociology, ethnology and law. Guest professors will be selected at the suggestion of the Cluster of Excellence’s Principle Investigators for one semester each.

Prof. Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer (summer semester 2018)

Prof. Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer – Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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As Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor at the Cluster of Excellence in summer semester 2018, Prof. Dr Mark Juergensmeyer, the internationally renowned sociologist from the University of California, Santa Barbara, will give public lectures on questions of religion and violence. His research focus includes religious violence and conflict resolution as well as South Asian religions and politics. He examines how religion can stimulate, curtail and modify social and political conflicts. He also asks about the reasons for their dynamic potency and about the external conditions which may mobilise or even restrict religion.

Mark Juergensmeyer is Professor of Sociology, International Studies and Religious Studies and founder of the Orfaela Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In recent years, the scholar has published important studies on religion and violence, including the internationally acclaimed work “Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence” (2000). It is based on interviews with religious activists worldwide such as jihadists, ISIS fighters, Hamas leaders and Christian militant pro-life activists in the USA. His publications also include “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda” (2009), “Gandhi's Way: A Handbook of Conflict Resolution” (2005) and “The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State” (1993)

Prof. Dr. Jóhann Páll Árnason (summer semester 2018)

Prof. Dr. Jóhann Páll Árnason – Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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In summer semester 2018, the renowned sociologist Prof. Dr Jóhann Árnason, emeritus of La Trobe University in Melbourne, will address various approaches to a religious-political constitution of modernity, both in a public lecture series and in his research as Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor in Münster: What role does religion play in the process of modernisation? Did the transition from pre-modern to modern societies become possible because the importance of religion decreased, or was the examination of religion the precise prerequisite for the path to modernity? The series will focus on various theories about the emergence of modernity, including approaches by Hans Blumenberg, after whom the Visiting Professorship is named, Max Weber, Shmuel Eisenstadt , Marcel Gauchet and Hans Joas.

Jóhann Páll Árnason, born in Dalvík , Iceland in 1940, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. After his doctorate with Jürgen Habermas in Frankfurt, his habilitation at Bielefeld University and his examination of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, Árnason turned to macrosociological issues and developed a theory of modernity. He became a leading proponent of the comparative analysis of civilisations . After moving to Australia in 1975, Árnason stayed connected to European research through stays at renowned European research institutions. He has published widely-acclaimed works, including “Civilizations in Dispute” (2003) and, together with Shmuel N. Eisenstadt and Björn Wittrock, “Axial Civilizations and World History” (2004). Focusing on East Asia and Japan, Árnason addresses the comparability of civilisations and their different paths to modernity. The sociologist is a major representative of the theory of “multiple modernities”.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild (summer semester 2017)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild - Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild - Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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The renowned German social and cultural anthropologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild will assume the “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship” at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” in the summer semester 2017. In a public lecture series in Münster, the scholar, a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, will focus on the “inevitability of religion”. After decades of increased secularisation, religions have such a great influence on politics again that, according to Hauschild, one has to ask whether human collectives can ultimately live without religion. Hauschild pleads for religious research that takes the subjective experience of religious believers seriously without abandoning scholarship’s neutral foundation.

Thomas Hauschild, born in Berlin in 1955, served as a professor for social and cultural anthropology at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He is a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities. As a fellow or visiting professor he was active at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies at Vienna, Austria (IFK), the Institute for Advanced Study at Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg) and the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie at Weimar (IKKM). Thomas Hauschild has published numerous books, arousing academic and public interest, among them “Hexen” (Witches), “Der böse Blick” (The evil eye), “Magie und Macht in Italien” (English edition “Magic and Power in Italy”, 2010), “Ritual und Gewalt” (Ritual and Violence, 2008), and “Weihnachtsmann. Die wahre Geschichte” (Santa Claus – The True Story, 2012). Between 1982 and 2015, the former stipendiary of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung completed extended periods of residential research on religion and politics in the province of Basilicata (Southern Italy).

The speaker of the Cluster of Excellence, sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack, emphasises that Thomas Hauschild is “an anthropologist with original ideas” and owing to his wide range of research interests he can “be a particular source of inspiration for the interdisciplinary research at the Cluster of Excellence”. The findings of his field research and historical analyses are of great interest for many subjects at the Cluster of Excellence. “This offers opportunities to walk new paths in academic thinking about religious forms of sense and practices.” Among the Blumenberg visiting professor's research focus areas are the inevitability of religions, cults of spirits, religious resources in imperial consumer societies and the religion of IS and Al Qaida terrorists.

In the summer semester 2017, the Cluster of Excellence has for the first time appointed two Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professors: the social and cultural anthropologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild and the British sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead.

Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead (summer semester 2017)

Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead - Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead - Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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The internationally renowned sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead from Lancaster University will assume the “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship” at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” in the summer semester 2017. During her stay at the WWU, the British academic will focus on the worldwide growing number of so-called “nones”, people who are unaffiliated with any religion. In a public lecture she will discuss the question “Is ‘No Religion’ the New Religion?”.

Linda Woodhead, born in Somerset, England, in 1964, is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University. In 2013 the academic was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to higher education. She has been awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Uppsala, Zurich and Oslo. Recently, the scholar was invited to the World Economic Forum summit in Davos as member of the Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith. She has published several works on religion in modern societies, among them a book that aroused international interest: “The Spiritual Revolution” (co-written with Paul Heelas, 2005) is based on research in Kendal, a town in England, documenting the growth of Christian and alternative spirituality. Further publications include “A Sociology of Religious Emotion” (co-authored with Ole Riis, 2010) and “That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People” (2016). Prof. Woodhead studied Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge University and specialised in the empirical study of culture, religion and values.

“In her research Linda Woodhead is concerned with secularisation, religion, values and gender as well as the relationship of religion and emotion”, says the speaker of the Cluster of Excellence, sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack. “These focus areas offer numerous intersections with those of the Cluster of Excellence.” The scholar distinguished herself in particular with her theory of the “spiritual revolution”. “With this she describes a structural change of religion in modern societies through which new individualistic and syncretistic religious forms gain in importance and increasingly supersede declining ecclesial ties”, Prof. Pollack explains.

“Owing to her long experience in interdisciplinary research on religion and society, Linda Woodhead is a great enrichment for the Cluster of Excellence”, Prof. Pollack emphasises. From 2007 until 2012 the new Blumenberg Visiting Professor was Director of the 15 million euros interdisciplinary “Religion and Society research programme” funded by the “Arts and Humanities Research Council” and the “Economic and Social Research Council”.

For the summer semester 2017, the Cluster of Excellence has for the first time appointed two Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professors: the sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead and the social and cultural anthropologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild.

Prof. Dr. Horst Dreier (winter semester 2016/2017)

Prof. Dr. Horst Dreier - Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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The internationally renowned Würzburg legal scholar and legal philosopher Prof. Dr. Horst Dreier assumes the “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship” of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” in the winter semester 2016/17. In public lectures and in his research in Münster, the Würzburg researcher will focus on the “challenges of the secular constitutional state”. He will discuss the “hotly contested term” of secularisation and talk about the constitutional history of religious freedom in Germany, the religious-ideological neutrality of the state and the question of sacral elements in the secular state.

Horst Dreier, born in Hanover in 1954, is Professor for Legal Philosophy, Constitutional and Administrative Law at Würzburg University. His research focuses cover constitutional and intellectual history as well as the relationship of law and religion. From 2001 until 2007, he was a member of the National Ethics Council. The researcher received multiple awards and published numerous works in his research areas, such as “Säkularisierung und Sakralität” (Secularisation and sacrality; 2013), “Bioethik” (Bioethics; 2013) and “Staatsrecht in Demokratie und Diktatur” (Constitutional law in democracy and dictatorship; 2016), as well as a newly conceived three-volume commentary on the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz-Kommentar).

Horst Dreier’s research is of great interest for many subjects represented in the Cluster of Excellence: his legal-philosophical work makes him a contact for philosophers, his publications on legal and constitutional history for historians. Focussing on law and constitutional sociology opens up the dialogue with the socio-scientific subjects. His practical approach to constitutional law is profoundly influenced by political science so that exciting synergy effects are to be expected in this respect as well.

The time Horst Dreier spent at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) and at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies in Erfurt (Max-Weber-Kolleg) is proof of the appreciation that researchers show for him, of his ability to promote interdisciplinary exchange and of the high esteem he has for this form of science.

Prof. Dr. Lucian Hölscher (summer semester 2016)

Lucian Hölscher - first Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor
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The internationally renowned Bochum historian Prof. Dr. Lucian Hölscher is the first holder of the “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship” at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”. In public lectures and in his research in the summer semester 2016, he is going to address the 2017 anniversary of Protestant Reformation and the culture of Protestant piety in Germany.

Lucian Hölscher, born in 1948, is emeritus professor for modern history and the theory of history at Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB). He has been a member of the board of RUB’s Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Dynamics of Religion between Asia and Europe”.

The historian is one of the internationally leading representatives of social, cultural and religious history of the modern era, and has given major impetus to a new theory of history. One of his most important works is his “Geschichte der protestantischen Frömmigkeit” (History of Protestant piety), which describes the change of Protestant piety from the Reformation until the early 20th century. During the visiting professorship in Münster, Prof. Hölscher will continue to work on the second volume of his “Geschichte der protestantischen Frömmigkeit”.

Lucian Hölscher’s research results are of great interest for the historical and social scientific research projects at the Cluster of Excellence. He connects the analysis of religious semantics, e.g. of visions of the past, the present and the future, with the analysis of social structural and political changes.

His works are relevant to many members of the Cluster of Excellence whose research focuses on the modern age and modernity. However, there are also many points of contact with ongoing research at the Cluster of Excellence in a methodological respect, e.g. as regards the reflection on methods that are used in the science of history from the point of view of the philosophy of science.