Local Governance of Religious Diversity
Through the Lenses of Hamburg and Washington, DC
Religious diversity is a reality in both Germany and the United States. It leads to negotiation processes in differing forms, which unfold among religions, state actors, and society. Given the dominance of national perspectives, especially regarding church-state relations, it is argued that cities play an important role as condensed areas of religious diversity. Thus, cities serve as laboratories for evaluating forms of coexistence in pluralist societies.
Through the lenses of Hamburg and Washington, DC, the seminar explores how “the city” deals with religious diversity: How do religious communities respond to religious diversity and what role does interfaith dialogue play? What role do religious spaces play in dealing with diversity? And how does the state respond to religious diversity and interact with religious communities? The seminar provides a cross-city perspective discussing insights from studies in Hamburg and initial findings from two months of field work in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anna Körs is a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow in October and November 2022.
She is scientific manager and vice director at the Academy of World Religions (AWR) at the University of Hamburg. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology and was Interim Professor for the sociology of religion at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Münster in 2018 and deputy head of the research project ‘Religion and Dialogue in Modern Societies,’ funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research, 2013-2018, at the University of Hamburg.
In her current research she focuses on the governance of religious diversity at the meso-level of organizations and institutions and investigates the processes of transformation in contemporary societies, focusing on religion, politics, and education, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and from a comparative perspective. She has published widely on the topic of governance and religion in several international journals including “Contract governance of religious diversity in a German city-state and its ambivalences” (Religion, State and Society, 2019), “Local ‘formulas of peace’: Religious diversity and state-interfaith governance in Germany” (Social Compass, 2018), “Interreligious Dialogue Activities in East Germany: Low levels of Activities within Official Organizational Structures” (Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society, 2020), “The Plurality of Peter Berger’s ‘Two Pluralisms’ in Germany” (Society, 2017). She has also served as co-editor of the books Religious Diversity and Interreligious Dialogue (Cham: Springer 2020) and Religion and Dialogue in the City: Case Studies on Interreligious Encounter in Urban Community and Education (Waxmann, 2018).