Institute of Historical and Cultural Anthropology

Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies

Research Collaboration funded by the Anneliese Maier Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Award winner: Prof. Dr. Pamela Klassen, Department for the Study of Religion/Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Distinguished Visiting Professor for the Anthropology of Modern Religion at the University of Tübingen, Dept. for Historical and Cultural Anthropology
Host: Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer
Term: 2015-2020
Volume: 250,000 Euro

Project Description

This five-year collaborative project will bring together an international group of scholars and students with a particular interest in how the contested—and sometimes celebrated—categories of religion and multiculturalism shape, provoke, and complicate projects of public memory. These projects, such as museums, monuments, digital platforms, and truth and reconciliation commissions, tell stories of the past for many different reasons: critical reflection, celebration, education, healing and reconciliation. In countries with steady flows of immigration, audiences of great religious, ethnic, political, and generational diversity are called to remember a past that they may not claim as their own. This call to remember is an appeal mediated through genres of storytelling and memorialization—such as the testimony and confession or the artifact enclosed in a museum’s glass case—that make more sense in some religious or cultural contexts than others.

Working from a comparative perspective in terms of both region and discipline, the project will include scholars from across the humanities, including study of religion, anthropology, history, museum studies, and Aboriginal studies, who focus on North American and European contexts from the 19th-21st centuries.

A series of workshops and conferences will focus on such topics as:


Museums, Religion, and the Work of Reconciliation and Remembrance
May 9, 2019, 6.30 p.m., W. M. Blumenthal Akademie, Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Information and Program

Venus in Transit. Prehistoric Art and Religion

A conversation with Silvia Tomášková (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Nicholas Conard (University of Tübingen)

January 28, 2019, University of Tübingen

Information und Program

Reformation and Refugees. Alternative Histories
A conversation with Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto) and Peter van derVeer (MPI Göttingen)

November 14, 2017, University of Tübingen
Information and Program


Sites of Memory: Religion, Multiculturalism and the Demands of the Past
15th - 17th October 2016, University of Toronto
Information and Program
Christmas in the Multicultural City: Public and Private Rituals between Culture, Religion and Consumption
10. - 11.12.2015, Universität Tübingen
Information and Program