The International Research Training Group „Religious Cultures in 19th and 20th-century Europe“ aims at making a fundamental contribution towards analyzing the relationship between religion and the Modern era, using approaches derived from historiography, religious science, and theology. Religious cultures in 19th and 20th-century Europe (with focus on Central Europe) are to be examined with regard to their cross-relations with systems and frameworks of a secular nature.
The individual research projects seek to solve a central question: To what extent were religious groupings, religious practices and religious symbols and their usage influenced by economic, social and cultural change from the late 18th century onwards, and how did they, on the other hand, shape the process of change? The research projects that come under the auspices of the post-graduate students’ course are to follow both a comparative approach and one oriented at the history of international or inter-regional relations. The aim is a) to examine and to compare different faiths and religious denominations; b) to look at developments concerning the history of religions in differing nations or regions comparatively and diachronically. By comparing paths of religious development, the post-graduate students’ course is to make a fundamental contribution towards the Europeanization of historiography.
In keeping with the intensive cooperation planned between the universities of Munich and Prague, the main focus is placed on developments in Central Europe. In addition to a wealth of cross-relations between Central European religious cultures in the 19th century, contemporary history is particularly interested in questions connected to the post-1945 antagonism between political and social systems and its effects even after 1989. An overly narrow focus which would look at too few national histories or religious communities is to be avoided by establishing international cooperation with additional partners.
The research program comprises five central clusters of topics:
- changes in religious systems under the circumstances of the Modern era;
- the conflict-laden relationship of science and religion;
- the relations between religion and European nationalisms;
- religion in urban contexts;
- the correlation between religion and gender.