Current projects

On the basis of the Special Research Area’s conceptual framework, the members of the Research Area have decided to focus their short- and medium term plans onto three distinct fields:

1. Constructions of the Plurality of Worldviews in the Context of Education
2. Understanding and Explanation of religious Plurality in Austria
3. Implementation of ‘interreligious competence’


1. Constructions of the Plurality of Worldviews in the Context of Education
Austria is a very diverse country. This is also the case with regards to the role of religions in the context of education. Actually, the education sector is characterized by a particularly high degree of plurality. The actors working in this field have a number of very diverse options to assess this situation – e.g. as an enrichment, a threat or a negligible entity -, and these constructions of religious plurality form the basis of all grass-roots activities. Accordingly, our empirical research activities intend to collect and analyze data on the different modes of the construction of religious plurality in the educational sector.


Oral History-Project: Religious Plurality at Viennese Schools during the First Republic (1918–1938)
Project lead: Karsten Lehmann

The research and research communication project under the responsibility of Edith Petschnigg focuses on the handling of religion and religious plurality at Viennese schools during the First Republic of Austria. In the Interwar period, at a great number of Viennese schools the everyday school life was characterised by the encounter of pupils of divers Christian, Jewish, and secular traditions. Central to this project are the perspectives of former pupils and their individual constructions of religious plurality. Therefore, the main source are oral history interviews with Jewish and Christian contemporary witnesses.

1.9.2021: Invitation to travelling exibition in: 'Im Dialoge', page 22

23.3.2020: Article in the Religionswissenschaftsblog of THE STANDARD

2.2.2020: Establishment of Advisory Council

2.3.2019: Conversation with Contemporary Witnesses (moderation: Dr. Edith Petschnig)


2. Understanding and Explanation of religious Plurality in Austria
The research undertaken in the context of the Special Research Area intends to support the adequate understanding (and at best) explanation of religiously diverse situations. The understanding of Austria’s socio-cultural diversity forms the basis of every competent action under the conditions of religious plurality in the education sector. Along those lines, the members of the Research Area want to put particular emphasis on the analysis of religious plurality in Austria.


Transmission:  Multiple Forms of the Transfer of Religion to young People
Project Lead: Karsten Lehmann / Anne Koch (PHDL)

The initial idea to work towards a project on the multiple forms of the transfer of religion to young people emerged out of the intense debates among the research professorships 'interreligiosity' within the context of the 'Religion_Plurality' cooperation. The project idea is based upon the observation that the increasing empirical work on religion and youth has most recently been approached along the lines of two main criticisms: First, scholars of religion have been questioning the urban bias of present-day research on religion and youth. Second, they have been pinpointing towards a lack of research on marginalized youth and religion. The project 'Transmission' intends to close this gap by undertaking qualitative empirical research in Austria.

International Workshop at the Krupp Kolleg (University Greifswald)

Interesting theoretical reference


Publication Project: ‚Religious Diversity in Austria‘
Project Lead: Karsten Lehmann / Wolfram Reiss, University of Vienna

So far there is no easily accessible introduction to the religious diversity in Austria that is targeting the general public. The publication project wants to close this gap. In the form of an edited volume it intends to bring together scholars of religion that are experts in the analysis of religious communities in Austria – past and present. We have convened an authors' workshop on setpember 18 th and 19th 2020. The volume will be published with NOMOS-publishers.

Annoncement on the website of the publishers

List of Participants


3. Implementation of ‘interreligious competence’
The debates around the concept of ‘interreligious competence’ have become a central focus of the controversies around religious diversity in the educational sector. Throughout the last decade, they have developed into an integral part of the debates in pedagogy and educational policies. Correspondingly, the members of the Special Research Area are working towards the implementation of ‘interreligious competence’ in the context of research as well as practical activities.

Conference-Project: Interreligious Dialogue in Context
Project Lead: Karsten Lehmann

Throughout the last two decades, interreligious dialogue (IRD) has developed into a central aspect of the religious field. So far, however, IRD has primarily been discussed on a conceptual level – putting particular emphasis onto processes of individual learning. To counteract this implicit bias, the workshop ‘IRD in Context’ intends to put particular emphasis onto practices of interreligious dialogue in their respective socio-cultural contexts. Accordingly, the KPH and the Research Center ‘Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society’ will invite experts from a variety of different European countries to reconstruct the history of IRD in their respective socio-cultural contexts.

5.6.2019: Entry in the Blog of RaT - Research Center 'Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society'


Resarch Project; ‚Interreligious Encounter-Learning’ at School – an Evaluation
Project lead: Alfred Garcia Sobreira-Majer / Karsten Lehmann

The notion of ‘Interreligiöses Begegnungslernen / Interreligious Encounter-Learning’ (IrBL) stands for a particular model of religious education at schools as well as within the context of higher education. In the course of this project, a model of IrBL that is primarily based upon the writing of Prof. Katja Boehme, from the Heidelberg University of Education, has been introduced to two Viennese Grammar Schools. On the basis of the respective activities, the project raises the question to what an extent it is helpful to use the notion of ‘encounter’ within this particular form of religious education. To follow up upon this question, the project uses the method of participant observation – thus putting the social behavior of learners into the center of the research. The project wants to learn more about the concrete, down-to-earth forms of interaction between learners as well as learners and teachers that act in the context of IrBL: What types of constructions of religion are used within this particular setting? To what an extent is it possible to observe ‘authentic’ forms of interaction, and how do the actors interpret their respective activities?