We are happy to announce that the interdisciplinary Research Centre

"Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society"

(in short: RaT) has been extended until March 2026. Scientists from 7 faculties and 14 disciplines are united under the umbrella of this Research Centre - including Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Islamic
theology, Jewish studies, Islam and Religious studies, social- and cultural studies, studies
of law, philosophy, and the department of education.

RaT researches the reciprocal relations between religion, religiousness and
transformation processes within the contemporary global context

Since 2018, the Research Centre RaT has continued the work of the correspondent research platform
which was founded as a unit of the University of Vienna in the year 2010 (2010-2018). 


Latest Blog Entries:

  • Wie junge Menschen glauben: Zugehörigkeitswelten religiöser Jugendlicher erkunden:In her contribution, Astrid Mattes presents the results of a recently completed research project with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Alevi and Sikh youth in Vienna. The results paint a colorful picture of networked, translocal and adapted youth religiosity, which can be explored by means of a specially created online application. This article was published on derstandard.at as part of the cooperation between RaT and the daily newspaper derstandard and can be viewed here.




In this category, we present a selection of recent publications. Currently:

Cirilo Boloron Jr.: The Concept of Inclusive Pluralism. V&R Unipress 2022.

Link to the publication.

Gerhard Langer: Judentum für Dummies. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH 2022.

Link to the publication.

Reiss, Wolfram / Wurzrainer, Robert / Auhser, Ferdinand / Futterknecht, Veronica / Varda, Karin Andrea: Vieltfalt (er)leben 2. Linz: Trauner Verlag 2022.

Link to the publication.


Here we introduce current projects by RaT members.

Wolfram Reiss & Robert Wurzrainer

The main aim of the website is to provide an overview of the approximately 50 different initiatives for inter-religious dialogue in Austria, as a condensed general overview has been lacking up to now. In addition to initiatives of institutions at international, national, provincial and municipal level, cooperations that promote, mediate and analyse interreligious dialogue are presented. Forms of practical interreligious cooperation in private, public and state organisations are also presented, as are interreligious dialogue initiatives by NGOs and various religious communities.

The website is not only intended to provide information about interreligious initiatives in Austria at various levels, but also to offer the initiatives themselves an opportunity to get to know similar projects, to get in touch with them, to network or to start their own projects.

The website will be updated at irregular intervals. The administrators are happy to receive information about other initiatives that would like to be included in this compilation.


New Issue: JRAT-Supplementa Volume 2 (2022) by Paolo Costa

The Post-Secular City. The New Secularization Debate

“The Post-Secular City” examines the alleged shift from a “secular” to a “post-secular” dispensation from the perspective of the ongoing de-construction of the secularization “theorem” (as Hans Blumenberg called it). Accordingly, the new secularization debate is described as being polarized between the “de-constructors” and the “maintainers” of the standard thesis of secularization. 

New issue: JRAT 8 (2/2022),
edited by Katerina Koci & Ludger Hagedorn:

Sacrifice and Self-Sacrifice: A Religious Concept under Transformation.

Sacrifice, originally a religious-cultic concept, has become highly secularized and used in various instances for different social phenomena. The current issue puts forward a selection of papers that offer insights into sacrifice and self-sacrifice and focus on the process of transformation of the sacrificial individual. Three main axes put the concrete papers into a dialogue with one another: first, there is the philosophical-theological and gender reflection of the experience of the paradigmatic sacrificial story of the western tradition, i.e., the Akedah (Gen 22); second, the existential-phenomenological interpretation of self-sacrifice in the secular world which nevertheless aims to reveal a higher good – Freedom, Love, or the Good; third, the gender and feminist reflection of the motherly sacrifice of childbirth both in the religious-cultic context and in the secular context which presents childbirth both as a moment of autonomy loss and submission and a moment of women self-emancipation.

Article published "in advance":

Ugo Dessi: Globalization and Asian Religions in the Scuola di Meditazione

This article explores the Scuola di Meditazione (School of Meditation) established in Sardinia in 1983, one of the earliest instances in Italy of the use of ‘Eastern’ techniques by Roman Catholic religious professionals to promote the practice of meditation for lay people. Against the backdrop of ongoing religious diversification in the Italian context, this case study provides an insight on religion under globalization as a complex and multilayered phenomenon. In particular, the formation and activities of the Scuola di Meditazione show to be ingrained in the working of the global cultural network, with both direct and indirect cultural imports from Asia through mediatization, missionization, and mobility; to build upon the broader global repositioning of the Roman Catholic Church towards Asian and other ‘world’ religions through the adoption of a soft inclusivist approach; and to provide a meaningful framework for glocal practices resulting in the globally-oriented reshaping of individual religious worlds.

This article will be integrated in our upcoming issue JRAT 9 (1/2023) "Exploring Asian Religions in Europe".


Martin Mosebach: What is a Catholic Novel?
Poetics Lectureship "Literature and Religion"
8 November 2022

Narration within the framework of a novel is something profoundly Catholic, as it seems to follow a larger order, to fit into a structuring framework that is presupposed, even believed - otherwise literature would not "function". Therefore, according to Martin Mosebach at his Vienna Poetry Lecture in November of this year, narrative literature in the classical sense can even be called "Catholic", even if it is not Catholic "material" that it processes. The occurrence of Catholic motifs or religious elements in literature is also of only limited interest to the Büchner Prize winner Mosebach and actually plays no role in his own work. In his poetics lecture entitled "What is the Catholic Novel?", in which he spanned a large arc of literary history, Mosebach rather made a writer's confession of literary secularity: the man Martin Mosebach is indeed as "naturally" Catholic as the tree is green, but as an author he feels downright repelled by religious feelings and views processed in literature.
Conclusion: Mosebach's lecture was exceptionally knowledgeable, rhetorically brilliant, entertaining and, last but not least, rich in clever theses and references. That's why a sympathetic auditorium could easily forgive him for the (only in a small subordinate clause dropped) point against the liberalisation of Catholicism after Vatican II.

(Original text in German by Tobias Mayer)

Link to the video.


Andreas Kowatsch has held the Chair of Canon Law and Religious Law at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Vienna since 2019. After several postponements due to COVID-19, the inaugural lecture finally took place on 12 October 2022 in the Great Festival Hall of the University of Vienna. 

After words of welcome by Vice-Rector Christa Schnabl and Dean Andrea Lehner-Hartmann, Andreas Kowatsch addressed the highly topical subject of "Religious Freedom in Times of Pandemic? Notes from the perspective of religious law and canon law". After an overview of the joint efforts of state and church in the fight against the pandemic, Andreas Kowatsch located, among other things, a "one-dimensional settlement" between art, culture and religion.

Afterwards, the faculty invited to a reception.

Link to the recording of the inaugural lecture.


Patronage of Advanced Study Course

We as research centre took the Advanced Study Course "Interreligious Dialogue and International Relations" under our patronage.

The course is conducted by the Scuola Superiore di Studi Storici of the University of San Marino and the Instituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose "A. Marvelli" of the dioceses of Rimini and San Marino-Montefeltro, in agreement with the National Service for Higher Studies in Theology and Religious Sciences of the Bishops' Conference of Italy and the Theology Faculty of Emilia Romagna.

For further information consult this information sheet.

Research Award for Dr. Cem Kara

For his publication "Grenzen überschreitende Derwische. Kulturbeziehungen des Bektaschi-Ordens 1826-1925" ("Dervishes Transcending Borders. Cultural Relations of the Bektashi Order 1826-1925"), Dr. Cem Kara was awarded the 2022 Research Prize of the Annemarie Schimmel Foundation for Islamic Studies.

The award is presented by Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (Sektion Islamwissenschaft) [The German Oriental Society - Section Islamic Studies], for particularly outstanding academic research and was based on the research work of the last 5 years.

We extend our warmest congratulations to Dr. Kara!

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events


YouBeOn Map Release

26 January 2023, 6 pm

Venue: Brick-15, Herklotzgasse 21, 1150 Vienna

Release-party of the digital YouBeOn Map, developed by the research project Young Believers Online – mapping on- and offline identifications of urban religious youth (Astrid Mattes, Christoph Novak, Miriam Haselbacher, Katharina Limacher). During the evening, the digital map, representing religious lifeworlds on- and offline, will be officially presented. Additionally, the researchers will give a brief overview on selected findings from the project. Afterwards, there will be a chance to socialise during live music, snacks and drinks.

For more information click here.

Please register at youbeon@oeaw.ac.at.

Masterclass and Public Lectures with John S. Kloppenborg and Jens Schröter

27 February 2023

Venue: Dekanatssaal, Dean's office Universitätsring 1, Staircase 8, 2nd floor

With Jens Schröter (Humboldt University Berlin) and John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), the VDTR welcomes two internationally renowned experts in the field of early Christianity and the religions of Mediterranean antiquity, respectively.


The two members of the VDTR Scientific Advisory Board will offer a Masterclass on the occasion of their stay in Vienna. The Masterclass is mainly aimed at PhD students and you can find the program here. Registration is requested by February 10, 2023 to contact.vdtr@univie.ac.at.

Public Lectures:

We cordially invite you to attend the two public lectures in the evening:

John S. Kloppenborg: The Cult of Christus in Civic Space

Jens Schröter: Anthropology and a Letter: The Image of the Human Being in Paul’s Letter to the Romans and the Purpose of the Writing

The lectures will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Dean's Hall of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Vienna, Universitätsring 1 (Stiege 8, 2nd floor). Refreshments will be served afterwards. For organizational reasons, we would appreciate your registration at contact.vdtr@univie.ac.at.

RaT Workshop "Religious Exits: Transformative Trajectories and Transitions into Alternative Worlds”

31st January 2023

The members of the RaT research centre organise an internal workshop entitled "Religious Exits: Transformative Trajectories and Transitions into Alternative Worlds" on 31 January 2023. The topic is currently the research focus of the centre.

Our point of departure is the consideration that religions claim to transcend immanent world orders, i.e. experiences that can be classified in the individually and collectively determinable spatiotemporal categories of the everyday world. By means of leaving immanent orders, however, not only everyday experiences are transcended, but also exits from world orders are found that include the religious subject in existing symbolic and social world orders. In this way, religion can contain an exit strategy in which the subject creates alternative places (of refuge), thereby overcoming firmly established limitations and opening up new worlds of imagination. Of course, religious practices are themselves ambivalent in this respect: on the one hand, they can prevent possible creative exits from established orders, but on the other hand, they can also radically open them up, insofar as the world of transcendence neither contains a definitively fixed territory nor an immovable order of time.

Interdisciplinary Symposium "Spaces of Memory"

16-17 March 2023

Venue: Dekanatssitzungssaal, Universitätsring 1, Stiege 8, 2nd floor, 1010 Vienna

The speakers at the symposium will include professors and researchers of various disciplines both from Vienna and internationally, as well as the world filmmakers, most significantly Amos Gitai. We will begin by reflecting on the meanings of memory and space, in political, theological, political, historical and cinematic contexts. The presentations will be followed by the Q&A and the panel discussion. The second day of the symposium, "In conversation with…”, will host primarily the prominent filmmakers, including Andrei A. Tarkovskij, and the experts from the field of film, media and religion, who will continue to explore the relationship between filmic space, memory, time and the “cinema prayer”. The second day will be an opportunity for a lively discussion with the filmmakers.

The Symposium forms a part of the FWF Lise Meitner Project Reframing Space: Film as History led by Dr. Milja Radovic.  

For more information click here.

Please register at: milja.radovic@univie.ac.at 

© Silke Lapina

© Silke Lapina

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