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Header image Religion and Cultural Heritage

Religion and Cultural Heritage

Programma

  • 1 jaar

    Religion and Cultural Heritage consists of three core modules (15 ECTS), a thesis (20 ECTS) and a practical placement (10 ECTS). You can choose three out of four electives (5 ECTS each). 'Material Religion: Things, Places, Performances, and Belief', 'Theological Heritages in a (Post) Modern Context', 'Going Retro: Ancient and Medieval Modernities', and 'Heritage of Death'.

    In the compulsory course 'Introduction to Religious Heritage' you will be introduced to the practice and theory of religious and cultural heritage. You will a.o. engage in a virtual archaeological “dig” of a sector of the city of Groningen and uncover the various types of religious heritage present in specific locations.

    The core module 'The Politics of Heritage' explores the complex relationship that exists between categories of 'heritage', 'identity' and 'memory' across various levels of politics and society. You will learn how the contestations over what is heritage, what is sacred, what is religious and what is cultural – and for whom – have very real impacts on law, policy and peoples' daily lives.

    The module 'Research Methods in Heritage and Historical Studies' brings together more practical skills (economic, organizational and managerial aspects) and the necessary research skills you need for your project in the second semester.

    As elective, you may also choose 'Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts' from the Master's Track Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern.

    Religion and Cultural Heritage consists of three core modules (15 ECTS), a thesis (20 ECTS) and a practical placement (10 ECTS). You can choose three out of four electives (5 ECTS each). 'Material Religion: Things, Places, Performances, and Belief', 'Theological Heritages in a (Post) Modern Context', 'Going Retro: Ancient and Medieval Modernities', and 'Heritage of Death'.

    In the compulsory course 'Introduction to Religious Heritage' you will be introduced to the practice and theory of religious and cultural heritage. You will a.o. engage in a virtual archaeological “dig” of a sector of the city of Groningen and uncover the various types of religious heritage present in specific locations.

    The core module 'The Politics of Heritage' explores the complex relationship that exists between categories of 'heritage', 'identity' and 'memory' across various levels of politics and society. You will learn how the contestations over what is heritage, what is sacred, what is religious and what is cultural – and for whom – have very real impacts on law, policy and peoples' daily lives.

    The module 'Research Methods in Heritage and Historical Studies' brings together more practical skills (economic, organizational and managerial aspects) and the necessary research skills you need for your project in the second semester.

    As elective, you may also choose 'Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts' from the Master's Track Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern.

Programma-opties

  • Master's Honours Programme (honoursprogramma)

    The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies. The programme of 15 ECTS is followed in addition to your regular Master's programme.

    It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.The theme of leadership is explored from various angles in the Masterclasses. Leadership skills are the focus in the Leadership Labs and Workshops. The Master's Honours Programme concludes with a Master Work – a project of your choosing that you design and implement.

Opbouw programma

VakPeriode 1Periode 2Periode 3Periode 4
Elective 1 (5 EC)
Introduction to Religious Heritage (5 EC)
The Politics of Heritage: Identity and Memory (5 EC)
Elective 2 (5 EC)
Elective 3 (5 EC)
Research Methods in Heritage and Historical Studies (5 EC)
Internship (10 EC)
Thesis (20 EC)

You can also follow this track within the two-year Research Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies. See: http://www.rug.nl/masters/theology-religious-studies-research/

You can also follow this track within the two-year Research Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies. See: http://www.rug.nl/masters/theology-religious-studies-research/

Studeren in het buitenland

  • Studeren in het buitenland is facultatief
  • Voor gemiddeld 20 weken
  • Maximaal 30 EC

We have various exchange contracts with universities both inside and outside Europe, enabling students to follow part of their degree programme at a foreign university. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad. For an overview of our exchange partners, see: http://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/exchangeprogrammes/partneruniversities

We have various exchange contracts with universities both inside and outside Europe, enabling students to follow part of their degree programme at a foreign university. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad. For an overview of our exchange partners, see: http://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/exchangeprogrammes/partneruniversities

Waarom in Groningen?
  • unique combination of broad cultural competence and academic research skills with practical skills relevant for job market;
  • expertise on religious aspects of both material and immaterial heritage;
  • strong heritage region;
  • expertise on various religions, taught at non-denominational university;
  • excellent network for internships;
  • taught by internationally recognized experts in the field at Top 100 University;
  • vibrant research hub with global links.
  • expertise on religious aspects of both material and immaterial heritage
  • unique combination of broad cultural competence and academic research skills with practical skills relevant for job market
  • expertise on various religions, taught at non-denominational university
  • strong heritage region
  • excellent network for internships
  • taught by internationally recognized experts in the field
  • vibrant research hub with global links

Master's students are expected to show a large degree of independence. If necessary you can make use of various forms of study supervision and study support. For example, you can contact a mentor or your study advisor. While writing your thesis, you will receive personal supervision from one of the lecturers.

Immediately after arrival, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university as well as international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. You can also go to the study advisor if you have doubts about your abilities or for whatever reason run the risk of study delay. You will receive intensive supervision while writing your thesis. The Master's programme includes a thesis seminar, where attention is paid to how to tackle writing a Master's thesis, and where the progress of the process is monitored closely. You will also receive structural supervision from the lecturer who is the specialist in the field of your thesis.

Master's students are expected to show a large degree of independence. If necessary you can make use of various forms of study supervision and study support. For example, you can contact a mentor or your study advisor. While writing your thesis, you will receive personal supervision from one of the lecturers.

Immediately after arrival, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university as well as international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. You can also go to the study advisor if you have doubts about your abilities or for whatever reason run the risk of study delay. You will receive intensive supervision while writing your thesis. The Master's programme includes a thesis seminar, where attention is paid to how to tackle writing a Master's thesis, and where the progress of the process is monitored closely. You will also receive structural supervision from the lecturer who is the specialist in the field of your thesis.

  • Testimonial van Professor Todd Weir

    Religion lies at the core of every intangible and living culture

    Across the globe, the public role of history is expanding. New museums and historical sites are opening, historical tourism is growing, and educational and cultural institutions are increasing their engagement with the past. This requires a new class of heritage experts, who are self-reflective and can contribute to economic and cultural policy formation and to regional planning.

    This master’s degree provides students with the theoretical and practical education necessary to take an active role in this exciting sector.

    Together with Mathilde van Dijk and Andrew Irving, I teach Religious Heritage at Groningen. Our combined expertise allows us to place Christian heritage in a broad context that includes other religious traditions and even secularism. Through lectures, seminar and field trips, we examine sites, buildings, traditions, rituals, texts and other locations where the past is maintained in the present.

    My own research focuses on the configuration of religion in politics and culture. I have written extensively on the interactions of Christianity, Judaism and secularism and their impact on modern intellectual and cultural history, particularly in Germany. I’m currently working on the history of modern worldviews, and planning a future book on the journey of “Weltanschauung/worldview” from 1790 to the present that will take the reader from Germany to the US, Netherlands, UK and the Soviet Union. It will examine Weltanschauung as one of the chief terms through which moderns have experienced and conceived of systems of thought and belief.

    The study of cultural heritage in a faculty of theological and religious studies makes Groningen’s master’s degree unique. Theoretically and practically, however, our innovative approach stands squarely within international trends. First, it helps meet the call issued by organizations such as the Unesco for the preservation not just of the physical sites, but also of the “intangible” heritage of world cultures. Religion lies at the core of every intangible and living culture.

    Second, the theory of heritage has developed in dialogue with religious studies. Heritage is not just about preserving the past, but giving people places and paths to experience loss. Sites of memory play sacral roles for states, communities and individuals. The study of religion helps us ask important questions of heritage practice: Are heritage sites maintaining religious traditions or repackaging them for touristic consumption? Should they serve as a locations of religious-secular dialogue in a post-secular world?

    Sluiten
    – Professor Todd Weir
  • Testimonial van Assistant professor Andrew Irving

    Studying material religious cultures helps us to think outside the box about the nature of lived religious belief itself

    According to current estimates, over 300 million tourists visit religious sites every year. The vast cultural, political, religious, economic, and environmental impact of these visits - whatever their motivations may be - is attracting the attention of governmental bodies on all levels, of private foundations and museums , and of industry specialists in tourism and infrastructure.

    At the same time, pressures on religious, governmental, and private organizations concerning changing religious and cultural identities, and relating to the long-term sustainability of religious heritage management have leant urgency to the question: How do we engage, preserve and communicate the remains of our religious past? 

    For these reasons, it is critical that graduates in religious studies and theology be equipped to facilitate and contribute informed voices to public debate about the future of religious heritage. It is also vital for the academic research and faith communities to learn about the ways in which “lay” and “non-expert” participants actively re-appropriate religious spaces, objects, and practices formerly perhaps too narrowly defined as the domain of adherents to religious beliefs on the one hand and trained experts on the other.

    Groningen’s MA in Religion and Cultural Heritage is unique in preparing you for this crucial bridge role. You will bring rigorous and critical training in theology and religion to the table in public and private discourse about religious heritage. At the same time you will learn to contribute to the academic study of religious history and to faith communities by communicating and analyzing the interests, questions and challenges that arise from the broader public’s engagement with its own and other peoples’ religious heritage.

    I teach courses that engage with material aspects of religion: visual arts, liturgical rites, books, music, and objects, material culture, architecture and archaeology. The courses will provide you with training and hands-on experience of observing, describing, comparing, and analyzing religious objects, spaces, and practices from the past, and in thinking about and questioning what is at stake in their preservation, use, and adaptation in the present. Studying material religious cultures helps us to think outside the box about the nature of lived religious belief itself.

    My research centers on the intersection between book history and the history of Christian worship. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, books comprise perhaps the largest group of religious artefacts that survive. I study the design and production of liturgical manuscripts, and, in particular, the material evidence for their intended and actual use. In this way, we can examine a religious book as if it were an archaeological site. By identifying and peeling back layers of evidence of repeated use and adaptation of single book objects sometimes over centuries, we can learn to re-consider what a religious book is for, how it works, and what it might tell us about the communities and individuals that made and used it. It is this careful and patient approach to sustained engagement with all material aspects of religion that I aim to bring to the classroom, fieldwork, and student-lead research.

    Sluiten
    – Assistant professor Andrew Irving
  • Testimonial van Fardo Eringa

    Close encounters with the lasting influence of religion

    I followed the Master's track in Religion and the Public Domain, but the course units on religious heritage from this track have now been included in the track in Religion and Cultural Heritage. The thing I liked most about the course units was how the present and the past are linked together. They focus in a very concrete way on the position of religion in Western Europe.

    You go on a lot of field trips and encounter the lasting influence of religion and the position that it takes in our society from up close, for example by studying the roots of the Devotio Moderna in Deventer or by singing the St Matthew Passion together and thus feeling its impact.

    I wrote my Master’s thesis on the phenomenon of ‘Michaeling’: fans following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps through a pilgrimage that brings them closer in spirit to their idol. I studied whether this was a new religious phenomenon, and concluded that the answer to this question is yes. ‘Michaeling’ is a typical example of the various forms that religion can take in our modern, post-secular society. And there is no doubt that this is a genuine pilgrimage, a spiritual experience of the kind that we associate primarily with the Middle Ages. For my research, I studied the experiences of eleven pilgrims and the Michael Jackson shrine in Germany.

    According to his fans, Michael Jackson’s core message was to ‘Heal the World’ through love. Some fans feel that Michael Jackson can be seen as a new Messiah, sent by God to show people what is really important, namely love. Michael Jackson is placed by his fans within a very broad spiritual context. The followers I spoke to call themselves spiritual, but they are reluctant to commit to a specific religion. What is remarkable is that most of these fans express very Christian ideas. For his followers, Michael Jackson acts as a kind of mediator, clarifying their prior religious allegiance. It is as if Michael Jackson helps them to transition from theory to religious practice. They integrate Michael Jackson into their belief system, where he comes to play a key role as a spiritual guide, offering his fans concrete guidelines for distinguishing between good and evil and giving shape to their lives. His followers believe that Michael Jackson was severely persecuted and that he suffered tremendously as a result. However, this did not stop him from fighting for his ideals and for his fans, which makes him a true martyr in their eyes.

    After I graduated, I went straight to work for the University of Groningen Humanities Support Desk, where I help organize educational projects for secondary schools. One of the projects I am working on is De Kerk: maak er wat van!, which we set up together with the Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken [Historical Groningen Churches Foundation] and which focuses on redesignation of church buildings that are no longer used as such. The idea is that pupils draw up policy plans for vacant church buildings. This way we aim to make students aware of the rich heritage that their own environment has, and encourage them to think about how to deal with this heritage.

    Sluiten
    – Fardo Eringa
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