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Conference: Dynamics of Religious Diversity

Invited Speakers

Keynote Speakers

  David Chidesteron “Forming Religion: Colonial, Imperial, and Global Configurations.”

David Chidester is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (ICRSA) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He is the author or editor of over twenty books in North American studies, South African studies, and comparative religion. His major publications include Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown (Indiana University Press, 1988; revised edition 2003); Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture (University of California Press, 2005); Christianity: A Global History (Penguin; Harper Collins, 2000); Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (University of Virginia Press, 1996); Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa (University of California Press, 2012); and Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2014). He has twice received the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in Religious Studies.

Kim KnibbeonConceptualizing religious diversity in a post-colonial Europe“.

Kim Knibbe is a senior lecturer in the anthropology and sociology of religion at Groningen University. She is currently directing the 5 year research project Sexuality, Religion and Secularism. Cultural encounters in the African Diaspora in the Netherlands (funded by the Netherlands Foundation for Research, NWO). Previously, she has carried out ethnographic research on Catholicism and spirituality in local life in the Netherlands and on Nigerian Pentecostalism in Europe and the Netherlands. Furthermore, she has published a series of theoretical and methodological reflections on studying religion that address how the experience of lived religion, as a mode of experiencing reality that is somehow identified as ‘different’, can be approached in ethnographic research.

  Eva Spies on “Being in relation. A perspective on multiplicity in the field of religion”.

Eva Spies is Junior Professor for the Study of Religion with a special focus on Africa at the University of Bayreuth, Department for the Study of Religion.

She has done fieldwork in Niger and Madagascar. Her current research focuses on empirical and theoretical questions of religious diversity, especially on the encounters and mutual perceptions of religious groups in Madagascar in the context of Christian South-South mission. Moreover, she is interested in the interplay of religion and development (cooperation). Here she introduced the concept of religious engineering to analyse the diverse ways of how religious actors work on the ‘improvement’ and future shape of a given society.
Publications directly connected to her lecture: (2013) Coping with Religious Diversity: Incommensurability and other Perspectives. In: Janice Boddy und Michael Lambek (eds.): A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. Wiley- Blackwell, 118-136 and (2016) with Ruediger Seesemann: “Pluralicity and Relationality: New Directions in African Studies”. Africa Today 63 (2), 132-139.

Peter van der Veer on “What is ‘comparison’ in Comparative Religion?”.

Peter van der Veer is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Hendrik Muller Award for his social science study of religion.

Van der Veer works on religion and nationalism in Asia and Europe. He has just published The Value of Comparison (Duke University Press, 2016). Earlier book publications are The Modern Spirit of Asia. The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2013), Gods on Earth (LSE Monographs, 1988), Religious Nationalism (University of California Press, 1994), and Imperial Encounters (Princeton University Press, 2001).