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Research Focus

Dealing with Diversity in Islam: Texts, Objects, and Practices

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Graduate School, our researchers have revised the research programme and defined our new research focus Dealing with diversity in Islam: texts, objects, and practices. It addresses strategies of dealing with diversity, difference, and distinction in a wide array of fields, be they religious, cultural, ethnic, social, economic, or political, among Muslims as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims. These strategies can reflect very different approaches, ranging from its recognition via negotiation to denial.

Under this heading, a broad range of aspects will be investigated, such as the construction and performance, assertion, critique, and rejection of difference and distinction; spaces and practices of interaction; the reading of diverse sources; and practices of “non-othering“.

Possible research topics thus include religious diversity among Muslims; relations between Muslims and non-Muslims; dealings with agnosticism and atheism; ethnic diversity; difference and distinction in the social and economic fields; gender and sexual diversity; and strategies of adoption and exclusion in literature.

As intense conflict and debate about homogeneity and diversity as well as identities and plurality in Muslim-majority as well as in non-Muslim-majority societies show, this focus makes our research programme deeply relevant to scholarly interests as well as to pressing societal concerns in both Muslim and non-Muslim contexts.

To promote multidisciplinary research, the Graduate School will systematically connect approaches from cultural and social studies in each research area. Our curriculum also addresses a number of cross-cutting themes that are relevant for all research areas and dissertation projects. It not only connects them with each other, but often places them in larger intellectual, social and political contexts.

Our research program thus forms a common discussion framework, which in turn is shaped by the individual research projects.