Speakers and REDIM Project Partners

(In alphabetical order of surnames)

Dr. Simon Kofi Appiah
Simon Kofi Appiah (b. 1964) studied theology and psychology at the Universities of Tübingen and London respectively. After a period of pastoral work as a priest, his keen interest in the study of religion\s led him to the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, where he has been teaching Religion and Human Values for the past nine years.

Prof. Dr. Bärbel Beinhauer-Köhler (REDIM)
Bärbel Beinhauer-Köhler is professor for the history and the study of religions in Marburg. She was co-proposer of the REDIM-project and supervises the PhD-projects of Ferdinand Liefert and Leila Tavangar Ranjbar.  She is co-editor of ZfR and JRFM and member of the editorial board of different book series. Working on visual cultures of Islam (Gelenkte Blicke. Visuelle Kulturen im Islam 2011) and religious architecture (Moscheen in Deutschland 2009) museums are places of her interest. Their dynamic spatial and material arrangements are entangled with different perspectives: a heterogeneous museum’s staff staging an exhibition dealing with an architectural and institutional framework, and the worldviews of visitors perceiving exhibitions

Lukas Berkenkamp (REDIM)
Student assistant in the project REDIM.

Prof. Dr. Peter J. Bräunlein (REDIM)
Peter J. Bräunlein holds an extracurricular professorship in the study of religion from the University of Bremen, and a Masters and a Doctoral degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Freiburg. He conducted extensive fieldwork on indigenous cosmologies and Catholicism in the Philippines, and did research on material religion in museums. He has taught at various universities in Germany and is a senior researcher in the project ‘The Materiality of (Forced) Migration’ in Goettingen.

Dr. Jill Cook (REDIM)
As Head of the Department of Britain, Europe & Prehistory, Jill Cook manages the curation and research of material cultures from 2 million years to 10,000 years ago worldwide, and for Britain and Europe to the present day. Over the last twenty years, she has curated several ground-breaking and highly successful exhibitions including Ice Age art. Arrival of the Modern Mind (2013) and Living with gods. Peoples, places and worlds beyond (2017-18). The latter complemented Neil MacGregor’s BBC Radio 4 series and book for which she was an adviser. She has advised the Vatican Ethnographical Museum on the curation and presentation of its collection, as well as contributing a research publication on its history. She is currently managing the development of an exhibition about Thomas Beckett that will be held at the British Museum in 2020 to mark the 850th anniversary of his martyrdom and is also project leader on a new British Museum Partnership gallery about faith and religion to be opened in 2021 in the precincts of the Bishop’s Palace at Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

Pardis Eskandaripour (REDIM)
Pardis Eskandaripour is a research assistant at the Department of the Study of Religions at the University of Marburg, where she is doing her doctorate in the REDIM project. She works at the Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde in Leipzig. Pardis Eskandaripour completed a Bachelor’s degree in sociology at Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran/Iran from 2003 to 2008 and studied ethnology (Bachelor’s and Master’s) at the University of Leipzig from 2012 to 2016. The topics of her theses were already related to religion in museums, museum exhibitions on Islam and the material culture of religion. In particular, she dealt with the categories of “religion, museum, space and place”.

Celica Fitz (REDIM)
As an art historian and scholar of the study of religions, her research focuses on material religion and visual forms of knowledge, especially in modern and contemporary art and western esotericism. She works as research associate and curator at the Institute of Church Architecture and Contemporary Art at Philipps-Universität Marburg. As a Curator she had organized several exhibitions, for example on exhibiting lived religions in museums (SinnRäume, Museum of Religions, 2015-18) and art exhibitions such as Unendliches Alphabet with Axel Malik (2019) or LOVE ME with Tizian Baldinger (2021). She received a Master’s degree in Art History with a thesis on conceptual illegibility in contemporary art and their presentation in exhibitions in libraries and a Master’s degree in the study of religions with a thesis on Radiesthesia and the drawings of the Swiss naturopath and healer Emma Kunz. In her interdisciplinary doctoral thesis in art history, museology and the study of religions, she is now researching the concepts of spirituality and artistic research of selected artists – as Emma Kunz – and their interpretation and presentation in recent exhibitions.

Prof. Dr Edith Franke (REDIM)
Edith Franke is the spokesperson for REDIM. She is professor for comparative study of religions as well as the head of the Religionskundliche Sammlung (Museum of Religions) and executive director of the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Religionsforschung (ZIR) at the University of Marburg. Edith Franke’s interest in religious plurality and the transformation processes of religious beliefs and practice has led her to a preoccupation with the material culture of religion.

Prof. Dr. Christa Frateantonio
Christa Frateantonio, PhD, study of religions. Apl Professor at Philipps University Marburg, university lecturer at Leibniz University Hannover. Her research focus is urban religion in Europe (ancient, and modern since the 19th century), especially spatial social and material aspects. Besides her current interest in post-colonial tries to expose religious objects as art, she is working on jewish self-representation and synagogue building in 19th century Turin/Italy (Mole Antonelliana), and the use of ancient myth in European perceptions of the New World (Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan).

Aymen Hamdouni (REDIM)
Aymen Hamdouni works as a community curator/diversity officer at Museumslandschaft Hessen in Kassel since 2019. He is responsible for the visibility of social diversity in the exhibitions, and he is developing attractive offers for new visitor groups. He is writing his Ph.D. thesis in the field of study of religions about “Exhibiting religious objects within museums: scientific concept and reflections on a museum of religion in Tunisia” at the University of Marburg.

Tatjana Hering
Tatjana Hering received her master’s degree in the Study of Religion at the University of Bayreuth in 2021 with her thesis on the musealisation of religious places (titled “Müze” demek hakarettir. Eine empirische Studie zur Musealisierung religiöser Orte am Beispiel des Hacı-Bektaş-Komplexes). As part of her master’s research, she conducted empirical research at the Hacı-Bektaş-Museum in Turkey. Her interest in the complexity of religion-related processes in Turkey was sparked by various excursions to different parts of the country during her undergraduate education and while working as an intern at the Orient-Institute in Istanbul in 2019. Her additional degree in German as a Second Language raised her awareness for language’s role in everyday social discourses as well as in academic research and publications. Hence, she emphasises the importance of language analysis when researching musealisation processes of religious spaces.

Prof. Dr. Sonia Hazard
Sonia Hazard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Florida State University. She completed her PhD at Duke University in 2017 in the fields of American History, Art History and Critical Theory. In her works, she focuses on religion in early American history; material texts and the history of the book; material, visual, and sensory culture; and theory and method in the study of religions, especially new materialisms. The project from which her first book emerged has been supported by several fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School. The book manuscript, tentatively titled “Building Evangelical America: How the American Tract Society Laid the Groundwork for a Religious Revolution”, is under contract with Oxford University Press. In recent years, she has distinguished herself with a series of publications on the material turn, new materialism, and the concepts of thing and agency in the study of religions in several relevant journals.

Dr. Ramona Jelinek-Menke (REDIM)
Currently, Ramona Jelinek Menke is the coordinator responsible for internal communication, public relations and the organization of REDIM events. She studied the study of religions and sociology at the universities of Göttingen, Leipzig and Accra/Ghana until 2014. Since 2015, she has been a doctoral student at the Department of the Study of Religions at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where she received her doctorate in philosophy in 2020. She is currently working on her postdoctoral project on “Religious artefacts and social difference” at the University of Marburg.

Kerstin Johannsen (REDIM)
Kerstin Johannsen is a research assistant at the Dommuseum in Frankfurt, where she is doing her doctorate in the REDIM project. The preoccupation with objects and images was already central to her studies and her professional activities to date. She studied Islamic Studies at the University of Hamburg with a focus on the material cultural history of the Arab world (Master’s degree in 2010) and completed a postgraduate degree in art history at the University of Marburg from 2015 to 2018. She worked as a research assistant at Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, where she was involved in a project to digitise the Städel Museum Frankfurt’s graphics collection.

Dr. Sara Kuehn
Sara Kuehn is a researcher, writer, and lecturer, presently teaching at the Department of Islamic Theology, University of Vienna, working at the interdisciplinary juncture of (art) history, anthropology, theology, religious and cultural studies. Among her recent publications are chapters and articles on Sufi relics, remains, and traces in Saintly Spheres and Islamic Landscapes: Emplacements of Spiritual Power across Time and Place (Brill 2020), on Sufi visual-material practice in the Balkans in Religious Materiality in the Early Modern World (Amsterdam University Press 2019), and on the visions of female Sufi leaders in the Western Sufi tradition in Religion in Austria 4 (2018). She is currently exploring the visual culture of Sufism in Europe in a book, provisionally titled Vision and Visuality in Western European Sufism.

Jasmin Kuhlmey (REDIM)
Jasmin Kuhlmey is an art and cultural educator in several museums in Stuttgart. Her research interest covers museum studies and ethnology of law. She studied in Mainz and Marburg, where she received her M.A. degree in the study of religion, cultural anthroplogy and law. Currently she is working on her Ph.D. at the Department of the Study of Religions at the University of Marburg. The focus of her research project ist the representation and exposition of jewish, christian and islamic religions in museums.

Ferdinand Liefert (REDIM)
Ferdinand Liefert is a research assistant in the Department of History of Religion at the Department of Protestant Theology at the University of Marburg, where he is doing his doctorate in the REDIM project. He studied Protestant Theology in Greifswald and Marburg, where he graduated with a diploma in 2014. In his diploma thesis, he examined the representation of Chan Buddhism in a martial arts movie. In the fall semester of 2014/15, he participated in the Interreligious Study in Japan program at the NCC Center for the Studies of Japanese Religions in Kyoto with a stipend from the National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation. In his dissertation he analyses the interrelation of missionary ambitions of religious organizations and their museum work as an object-centred method of engaging with the “other”, focusing on the Tenri University Sankokan Museum.

Karolina Lisowski (REDIM)
Karolina Lisowski is a PhD student in the Science of Religion department at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her interests lie in museum studies, the aesthetic aspects of religion and Buddhist studies. In the past 7 years, she has also been able to gather practical experience as a receptionist and art educator in museums exhibiting Buddhist objects.

Lisa Ludwig (REDIM)
Lisa Ludwig studied in Marburg cultural and social anthropology, comparative cultural studies, and study of religions, as well as educational science, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the research college “Wissen | Ausstellen”. She teaches in the field of conflict anthropology, as well as on theories of postcolonialism and decolonization. Lisa Ludwig has participated in various exhibition projects.

Anna Matter (REDIM)
Anna Matter is a research associate of REDIM and lecturer at the Department for the Study of Religions as well as coordinator of the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Religionsforschung (ZIR) at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Her research focuses on contemporary religious culture(s) and modern, Western esotericism in Europe, as well as material religion and culture. Her interest in museum work and research was already evident in her work as coordinator of the student research and exhibition project “SinnRäume”. She is working on her doctoral thesis on “Meanings and Interpretations of Gemstones in Everyday Religious Culture: Appropriation and Negotiation Processes of Material Religion in Recent Spirituality.”

Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (REDIM)
Léontine Meijer-van Mensch is director of the State Ethnographical Collections of Saxony (i.e. the ethnographic museums of Dresden, Leipzig and Herrnhut). She was programme-director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, deputy-director of the Museum of European Cultures at Berlin, and lecturer of heritage theory and professional ethics at the Reinwardt Academie, Amsterdam. She is active in the boards of several (international) museum organizations. In 2010-2016 she was president of the International Committee for Collecting, and in 2016-2020 member of the Executive Board of the International Council of Museums. She is a regular guest lecturer at various heritage studies programmes throughout Europe. She is in charge of Pardis Eskandaripour’s project, which is being held at the Grassi Museum.

Alisha Meininghaus (REDIM)
Alisha Meininghaus is a research assistant and lecturer at the Department for the Study of Religions at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. Her research focuses on Jewish amulets in the 18th/19th century in German-speaking countries, theories of magic, and religion in museums. Her doctoral thesis also deals with Jewish amulets.

Anna Roark (REDIM)
Assistant of the coordinator and administrative employee in the project REDIM.

Dr. Susanne Rodemeier (REDIM)
Susanne Rodemeier is a trained ethnologist of religion with a regional focus on Southeast Asia and Oceania and a religious focus on local religions and their engagement with both processes of Christianization and Islamization. Since 2018, she has been a curator at the Religionskundliche Sammlung (Museum of Religions), University of Marburg and a team member of the REDIM project since 2019. Her current research focus is provenance research on objects from colonial and missionary contexts.

Dr. Patricia Rodrigues de Souza
Patricia Rodrigues de Souza is currently postdoc student at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. She also teaches Material Religion at the Study of Religion Post Graduation Program in the same institution. Her research interests are Material Culture of Afro-Brazilian Religions and Material Culture of Religion and Food

Elena Romashko
Elena Romashko was born and raised in Minsk (Belarus), she holds a magister degree in Theology and Religious Studies from the Belarusian State University and an M.A. degree in Intercultural Theology (Göttingen University andFIT Hermannsburg). Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies at Göttingen University with a dissertation project focusing on how the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is commemorated through religious symbolism, artefacts and spaces. She is working and teaching for the international M.A. program Intercultural Theology. For the academic year, 2020/21 Elena Romashko received the Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University (USA).

Dr. Mirko Roth (REDIM)
Mirko Roth, PhD, post-doc researcher at the department of the History of Religion at Marburg University; Master’s degree in the study of religion and oriental studies from Frankfurt University. Field of research: Thing and media theory; material dimensions in the construction of religious traditions; household shrines of the Soka Gakkai International-Germany.

Bettina Schmitt (REDIM)
Bettina Schmitt has been the director of the Dommuseum in Frankfurt, one of REDIM’s collaborative partners, since 2015 and brings art historical perspectives to the project. She is an art historian; studied art history, classical archaeology and Italian in Tübingen, Pisa and Frankfurt am Main. After a traineeship at the Liebighaus in Frankfurt, she wrote her doctoral thesis as part of the Giessen Research Training Group “Classicism and Romanticism in a European Context” on the subject of The Waterfall. Dimensions of the meaning of an 18th-century pictorial motif.

Dr. Dagmar Schweitzer de Palacios
Dagmar Schweitzer de Palacios, studied Social- and Cultural Anthropology and Spanish philology at the University of Bonn. Her doctoral thesis (Freie Universität Berlin, 1994) focused on traditional medicine and its practitioners in the Northern Andes of Ecuador, followed by a project about relations of shamanism in the Northern Region of the Andes (2000-2002), which was financed by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and directed by Prof. Mark Münzel of Marburg University. In 2007 and 2008 she worked in the Collection of the Americas in the Weltkulturen Museum Francfort/Meno. Since 2010, she is the curator of the Marburg Ethnographic Collection, currently working on the project „Provenances of ethnographic objects from colonial contexts in Central Hesse (Germany)“ in collaboration with the Ethnographic Collection of the Oberhessisches Museum Gießen, financed by the German Lost Art Foundation.

Dr. Ali Shahidi
Ali Shahidi is an assistant professor of Iranian Studies at the faculty of letters and humanities, University of Tehran (since 2013). He studied Iranian philology at the University of Tehran (2004-2012) and earned his MA (2007) and PhD (2012) in Ancient Iranian Culture and Languages.

Nanette J. Snoep
Since 2019, Nanette J. Snoep has been director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne. She studied anthropology and cultural management in Paris. She then worked at the University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and the École du Louvre. From 1999, she worked on the development of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. In 2005, she was appointed head of the historical department of this museum. Together with the football player Lilian Thuram, she developed the internationally acclaimed show “Exhibitions – l’invention du sauvage” in 2011. In this context, she critically examined the European view of foreign cultures. The exhibition was awarded the renowned French cultural prize “Globe de Cristal”. From 2015 to 2018, Nanette J. Snoep was director of the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony, the Dresden Museum für Völkerkunde, including the Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig and the Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut.

Leila Tavangar Ranjbar (REDIM)
Leila Tavangar is a research assistant at the Department of History of Religion at the Department of Protestant Theology at the University of Marburg, where she is doing her doctorate in the REDIM project. She studied industrial design at the Tehran Art University. There, her major was product design, which led to a curiosity about things in her. With this background, she became more and more interested in Iranian art and culture and added a cultural studies approach to her research on everyday objects. Consequently, she continued her studies with an M.A. in Iranian Studies with a focus on culture, customs and cultural heritage at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran/Iran. For her Ph.D. dissertation, her focus is on lighting instruments in Iranian culture.

Prof. Dr. Ekaterina Teryukova (REDIM)
Ekaterina Teryukova is Deputy-Director for Research Affairs at the State Museum of the History of Religion (Saint-Petersburg, Russia) and Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy of Saint-Petersburg State University. Ekaterina received a PhD in Philosophy and teaches at the Department of Religious Studies. She is an author and editor of more than 60 articles and books. The area of her scientific interests includes material religion, museums on religion, history of museum collections on religion.

Prof. Dr. Christoph U. Werner (REDIM)
Christoph Werner is a Professor of Iranian Studies with a focus on Islamic Studies. After studying Islamic Studies, Modern and Contemporary History, German Studies and Iranian Studies in Freiburg im Breisgau, Cairo, Tehran and Bamberg, his academic career took him to Freiburg as a junior professor in 2002 and to Marburg in 2007. He currently holds the chair in Iranian Studies at the University of Bamberg. He is head of the Iranian Studies section within the German Oriental Society and a board member of the Societas Iranologica Europaea.

Dr. Caroline Widmer (REDIM)
Caroline Widmer studied the study of religions and Indology and did her doctorate as a teaching assistant and scholarship holder on the narrative representation of the “other” in early Buddhist texts. Since 2004 she has been a lecturer at the Department of the Study of Religions at the University of Zurich. In 2007, she began working at the Museum Rietberg, followed by an exhibition assistantship in 2010/11. Between 2013 and 2016, she researched Indian painting at the University of Heidelberg on a postdoctoral mobility fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. In addition, she was leading an art education project at the Museum Rietberg entitled “Seeing Art – Understanding Religion” (2015-2018). Since 2017, Caroline Widmer has been curator for Indian painting and assistant curator for the India section.

Prof. Dr Yuriko Yamanaka (REDIM)
Yuriko Yamanaka is an Associate Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka, Japan). She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Tokyo in 2007. She has been awarded the Japan Academy Medal (2011), Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences Prize (2011), Japan Comparative Literature Association Award (2010), and the Shimada Kinji Memorial Prize (2010) for her book Arekusandorosu henso: kodai kara chusei isuramu e (English title: Allegoresis of Alexander: from Antiquity to Mediaeval Islam).

Sarah Irini Zitzelsberger (REDIM)
Student assistant in the project REDIM.

Instagram