Miscellaneous Information:

Research Projects on Islam

Title: Islam and Mimetic Theory

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

The research project on Islam and Mimetic Theory uses Girard’s anthropology as a common starting point for understanding Islam. There have already been conferences in Berkeley (2011), London (2013) and Innsbruck (2016) with a group of specialists in Mimetic Theory and Muslim theologians. The aim is to enhance mutual understanding and to deepen the knowledge of Islam, its history and presence from the point of view of Mimetic Theory. A publication based on the papers presented in London and Innsbruck is being prepared.


Title: Fokolare Dialogue Group

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

The Fokolare Dialogue Group brings together focolarini, Christian and Muslim theologians. Since 2012 the group meets once a year either in Austria or Italy and discusses theological questions within the spiritual framework of the Fokolare Movement. After a focus on divine acting (2012 – 2015) the group now discusses divine attributes (2016 – 2020). The project is connected with “Analytic Theology” at the University of Innsbruck.


Title: Rethinking the Interpretations of the Prophet

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

The current debate about Islam brings back into memory the continuing archetypes of rejection and polemics against Islam in general and the prophet Muhammad in particular. Without a historical purification of conscience these debates will be caught in their old tracks and there are no good results to be expected. Roman Siebenrock will come to terms with archetypical qualifications of the prophet. He asks, how a theological and secular appreciation of this world-historically important figure can result to productive encounters in between different traditions of memory today


Title: Scriptural Reasoning: A Performative Practice of Interreligious Dialogue

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

Three times a term Fatima Cavis (Islamic Religious Education) and Michaela Neulinger (Institute for Systematic Theology) invite for Scriptural Reasoning evenings at the University of Innsbruck. Guided by this method of interreligious dialogue, Christians and Muslims discuss verses from their respective Holy Scriptures. Participants learn how to express their opinion authentically while deeply appreciating the faith of the other. An article reflecting our experiences with SR is in preparation.


Title: Between Dolorism and Perfectionism: Talal Asad as a Starting Point for a “Political Theology of Vulnerability”

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

Taking seriously Nostra Aetate and subsequent developments in catholic approaches to Islam, this PhD project reads Talal Asad’s reflections on the secular, the religious and the role of Islam and Muslims in contemporary Europe as a locus alienus of Christian theology. The analysis of Asad’s work results in the development of a “Political Theology of Vulnerability” which aims to relocate religion in the political by discovering the possible contribution of religions to the common good in a secularplural age. The PhD will be finished in spring 2017.


Title: Interreligious Education as a Contribution to a Society Capable to Cope with Differences and Plurality

Contact: Michaela Neulinger

Description: 

The project "Interreligious Education as contribution to a society capable of coping with differences and plurality“, led by Martina Kraml and Zekirija Sejdini, is situated in the area of interreligious teaching and research at the University of Innsbruck. The context of the University [Tyrol and beyond] is shaped by Catholicism and a growing number of Muslims. Thus the project aims at reflecting and developing attitudes that productively deal with plurality in religious contexts. Therefore it is necessary to study these attitudes within different religious groups including Catholic and Muslim students and teachers both at university and school level.

The aim of the project is to look what happens, when students and teachers of different religions meet and to develop our study program, our lessons and teaching trainings towards fostering interreligiosity. By means of social research methods (interviews, participant observation and ethnographic field work) we want to make visible typical communication patterns between Muslim and Christian students and within their groups. This also includes university staff and teachers at schools. So we are able to get a closer look at what is going on in interreligious communication, which challenges and conflicts we have to face.

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