Past events of the current semester


„Neutral State? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Autonomy of Religion, Art and Science” Conference of the RaT-Cluster "Transformations of Law between Religion and Society"

When: 19–20 June 2023
Where: 19 June: University of Vienna, Main Building, Dekanatssaal of the Faculty of Catholic Theology, 20 June: University of Vienna, Juridicum, Dachgeschoss.

Religion, Wissenschaft und Kunst verbindet ein durch das jeweilige Selbstverständnis geformter Anspruch auf Autonomie. Zu deren Schutz trifft der Staat institutionelle Vorkehrungen, die jeweils spezifische Konzepte von der „Eigengesetzlichkeit“ dieser Bereiche und damit vom Sinn der entsprechenden grundrechtlichen Freiheitsgarantien widerspiegeln. Damit sind auch normative Leitvorstellungen von „neutralem“ staatlichen Verhalten gegenüber diesen autonomen Sphären verbunden. In einem breiteren Bewusstsein steht vor allem die religiös-weltanschauliche Neutralität des Staates: Was bedeutet sie, und was sind die strukturellen Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten im Vergleich zum Verbot eines staatlichen „Wissenschafts-“ oder „Kunstrichtertums“?

Nach einleitenden Überlegungen zur Möglichkeit neutraler Staatlichkeit wendet sich die Tagung der Binnenperspektive zu und knüpft beim jeweiligen Selbstverständnis der Grundrechtsträger an. Eine philosophische Synthese leitet über zu Auseinandersetzungen mit den unterschiedlichen rechtlichen Autonomie- und Neutralitätsverständnissen. Eine empirische Analyse politischer Neutralitätsdiskurse bildet den Auftakt zur abschließenden Podiumsdiskussion mit Expert:innen zu kultur-, wissenschafts- und religionspolitischer Praxis.

The detailed program can be found here.

International Symposium "Religious Education at Schools in Europe and International KnowledgeTransfer: Looking Back and Looking Ahead"

When: 15–16 June 2023

Where: University of Vienna

The conference will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Martin Rothgangel and Prof Dr. Friedrich Schweitzer (University of Vienna). The aim of the conference is to connect and continue the two international projects "Religious Education at Schools in Europe" and "International Knowledge Transfer in Religious Education".
The detailed program can be found here.

VDTR Public Lecture with Joe Moshenska (University of Oxford): “Iconoclasm as Child’s Play: Dolls and Idols in the Reformation”

When: June 09, 18:15

Where: Dekanatssaal of the Faculty of Catholic Theology, Main Building, University of Vienna


Commentaries on Psalms Workshop of the working group "Reception of the Old Testament" (AKRAT:"Arbeitskreis Rezeption des Alten Testaments")

Faculties of Catholic and Protestant Theology, Vienna University
Monday, June 5th, 2023, 9.30-16.00, Schenkenstr. 8-10, A-1010 Vienna (+ Zoom)

The interdisciplinary workshop is dedicated to different conceptions of writing commentaries about the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible: Jewish and Christian, historic and contemporary. Inputs and discussion will deal with example texts, considering the following themes and questions:

  •     the relationship between the concepts of the Commentaries and realization in the concrete examples;
  •     explanations for the duplicity of Psalms;
  •     Is historic and literary research on the Psalm a "neutral" ground?
  •     How does the Jewish and Christian reception history influence the interpretation?
  •     What role does reflection on the interpreters' contexts play in their interpretations?
  •     Which new or critical perspectives can the reception history offer for today's interpretations?

A detailed program can be found here.

Contact for registration and zoom-link:

the letter bā‘. Reflecting the ideas of Ibn ‘Arabi and wahdat alwujūd

Location: Seminarraum Arabica, Institut für Orientalistik, Universität Wien
Date: June 3, 2023, 11 am - 6 pm

Muhyi al-din Ibn ‘Arabi may be the most influential writer of Sufism. His influence is to be
detected all around the world. The workshop “the letter bā’” is an attempt to establish the
study of his ideas and the ideas and others referring to him in the German-speaking world
(although the workshop is held in English this time), thus, giving an impact for future studies.

The detailed program of the conference can be found here.

Poetics Lectureship: "Religion im Zeitalter der Biomacht. Ein Kreuzweg" by Sophie Reyer

When: 1 June 2023, 19:00

Where: Hörsaal 5, Main Building of the University of Vienna

The abstract of the presentation will be available on the homepage of the poetics lectureship shortly.

VDTR Lecture Series "Religion und Politik": Säkulares/religiöses Wien: Sieglinde Rosenberger im Gespräch

When: 22 Mai 2023, 18:00

Where: Kapelle im Albert Schweitzer Haus, Garnisongasse 14-16, 1090 Wien

Questions about the relationship between politics and religion have shaped the work of political scientist Sieglinde Rosenberger in many ways. Through the analytical lens of inclusion and exclusion, she has researched the relationship between religious and state actors, headscarf debates, religious law, and the politicization of religion. The longtime speaker for the Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society Research Center bids farewell to her role with a thematic evening of conversation on secularity in the city.

Discussing: Sieglinde Rosenberger, Omar Al-Rawi, Regina Polak and Fabio Wolkenstein. Moderation: Johannes Modeß.

The event is a cooperation of the ASH Forum of Civil Society, the Research Center Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society and the Vienna Doctoral School of Theology and Research on Religion.

You can find more informations here.

Poetics Lectureship: "Das Zimzum. Sechs Annäherungen an das Unsagbare" by Ulrike Draesner


When: 8 Mai 2023, 19:00

Where: Hörsaal 6, Main Building of the University of Vienna

The abstract of the presentation is available on the homepage of the poetics lectureship.

Politics of Dis-Enclosure. Religion - Community - Violence: International Seminar with Achille Mbembe and other leading scholars, inspired by Jean-Luc Nancy's work


When: 26–27 April 2023

Where: 26 April: University of Vienna, Main Building, Dekanatssaal of the Faculty of Catholic Theology, 27 April: Abbey of Melk, Lower Austria

The seminar "Politics of Dis-enclosure" proposes to contribute to the task envoked by Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion of “dis-enclosure,” denoting an opening up of the world, by way of applying the motif of dis-enclosure to deconstruct the disconcerting race-religion-complex that takes shape in the maelstrom of globalization. As a matter of fact, the ways in which racialized and religious "others" are classified and dominated in similar ways today attest to the necessity to rethink political systems with regard to the logic of exclusion that they disavowedly entertain. This seminar is not intended as a memorial for Jean-Luc Nancy. It will be a thematic exchange of thoughts between several scholars (Achille Mbembe, Louise du Toit, Nabil Echchaibi, Anke Graneß, Petra Carlsson, Johann Schelkshorn), using Nancy’s notion of dis-enclosure, as an inspiration to think through and evoke this experience and its implications in a variety of contexts.

The notion thus invites us to think about the thematic of the opening up of the world in new ways, also beyond the limits of Nancy’s application thereof. In seeking to disentangle the resurgent race-religion constellation that thrives on this globalized double-bind, we propose to profit from an affinity displayed in the works of all those invited.

A detailed program can be found here.

In's Offene! Performance and Talk with Karlheinz Essl. (As part of the seminar „Die Frage nach dem Schönen“)


When: 24 April 2023, 18:30

Where: University of Vienna, Main Building, Sitzungssaal des Dekanats

Whether it is the examination of the work of art as an open work (Umberto Eco), or the necessity of constantly reflecting on and reinventing one's own work as a composer and performer, Hölderlin's invitation "Come! Into the Open!" is a leitmotif of Karlheinz Essl. In his work, he combines music with other art forms such as poetry, painting and dance, seeks to give artistic expression to new technical achievements (cf. project K.O.P.F.) and, above all, engages in an open-ended outcome of the artistic process, in which composition, performance and improvisation merge.

On April 24, 2023, we are pleased to welcome Karlheinz Essl as a guest in the seminar "The Question of the Beautiful." A sound performance by Coastlines will provide insight into his current work and interact with a conversation about current and fundamental questions of aesthetics.


When: April 24, 2023, 18:00-19:30 Uhr

Where: Department of Romance Studies, University of Vienna | ROM 14 (1st floor), Campus Court 8, Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Wien

Starting with Marco Guglielmi's recently published dissertation The Romanian Orthodox Diaspora in Italy: Eastern Orthodoxy in a Western European Country (Palgrave Macmillan 2022), the reproduction of religious and national identity in the Orthodox diaspora, its relationship to the state and to its country of origin, Romania, and to the Roman Catholic Church is discussed. Italy, as a "Western European Orthodox stronghold" (Guglielmi), is home to the largest Orthodox minority in Western Europe and the largest Romanian Orthodox diaspora in the world.

Panel discussion with:

Marco Guglielmi (Università di Padova)
Cristian Sonea (Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai Cluj-Napoca)
Ioan Moga (Universität Wien)
Mădălina Diaconu (Universität Wien)

More information on the participants and the detailed program can be found here.


Workshop "Fichte und Hegel: Das Bild des Absoluten und die absolute Methode"

When: 23.-25. März 2023

Where: Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Gaußstraße 20, 42119 Wuppertal

More information