Netherlands, Groningen

Performing Religion: theory and practice

when 17 February 2021 - 21 February 2021
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee EUR 100

Due to the covid-19 outbreak, all programmes for 2020 have been cancelled.

Religious practices have manifold forms, functions, histories and meanings. They make and break communities, they may reassure as much as incite anxiety, they change rapidly or may be extremely resilient, they may be oriented to individual salvation or the establishment of political power. Many more such contrasting attributes of religious action could be listed all of which are to be found in India today with her highly diverse religious landscape, as they have existed in the past.

This Winter School wants to deal with religious practices in their diversity. Thus, we are concerned with rituals in the strict sense, but also with performances of other kinds, related to secular ideologies, “civil religion”, politics, heritage or media.

With this winter school we want to invite students to reflect on religious practices in India (and possibly elsewhere) and engage in a close dialogue with other students and teachers from India and abroad. The teachers from anthropology, sociology and other disciplines will on the one hand introduce students to their particular research fields and on the other hand provide them with selected theoretical approaches that are useful in analysing and thinking about Performing Religion. Topics of the sessions will thus be, among others:

• Words and silences: how can we know what people believe or feel? (with Indian and Siberian cases)
• Religion, yoga and the body
• Understanding ritual symbolism
• Studying rituals as transformative events
• Firewalking in the Nilgiris: the ritual creation of "atmosphere"
• Ritual, Religion and Politics

Next to the academic field in the study of religious practices we also want to involve societal perspectives, such as activists or community leaders who do not do research on religious practices but rather perform and organize them. Students will in turn present past, ongoing or planned research on religious practices.

Course leader

Dr. Peter Berger, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen

Target group

The winter school is meant for students who have completed their MA/M.Phil degrees in the humanities or/and social sciences (or will do so in the near future), who have an interest in these topics and think about engaging in PhD research in this field in the future. Early PhD students may also apply, but priority will be given to MA/M.Phil students.

Course aim

With this winter school we want to invite students to reflect on religious practices in India (and possibly elsewhere) and engage in a close dialogue with other students and teachers from India and abroad.

Fee info

EUR 100: Included in the fee:
• Soft copies of the course material and program
• Participation/completion certificate signed by representatives of the partnering institutions
• Lunch, tea and snacks for during the winter school
• Some stationaries (optional)