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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Religion in an unstable world: Challenges, transformations, and future prospects

This summer school will discuss the topic of religion in the unstable world, including a variety of issues such as climate change, COVID and the health and care crisis, political instability with right-wing populism and the challenges of artificial intelligence. This multifaceted approach captures the most pressing issues in which religion affects, and is affected by, contemporary global societies. Some of the questions that the summer school will discuss are the following:


Religion and climate change
  • How do religious groups relate to climate change?
  • How can religion and spirituality help us in interpreting, predicting and resolving climate-induced conflicts?
Political instability and right-wing populism
  • How do religious discourses play a role in contemporary politics?
  • How are religious perspectives being mobilized in the current wave of right-wing populism around the globe?
Religion, science and artificial intelligence
  • How do religion and technology relate in times of artificial intelligence?
  • What are the ethical and religious implications of a life governed by algorithms?
  • How do religious groups jeopardize scientific responses and promote discourses that oppose COVID-19 safety measures?

Moreover the summer school will offer you training in relevant skills for your academic career.

Summer school participants will have the privilege to participate virtually in the biennial conference of the Research Network 34 – Sociology of Religion pertaining to the European Sociological Association, where they will be able to meet and exchange with numerous scholars in their field of interest.

Practical information

Dates 3 - 8 July 2022
Deadline for application 30 April 2022

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands


Participation is free for all.
The fee includes participation in the summer school, the virtual conference, welcoming drinks, 5 lunches, coffee/tea, 2 dinners, 1 boat tour and 1 city tour


MA & PhD

Academic coordinator

Dr. Julia Martínez-Ariño
Dr. Manoela Carpenedo Rodrigues



This summer school is designed for MA & PhD students interested in the social-scientific study of religion. Students coming from the humanities and related disciplines are also welcome to apply.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  1. Recognise the main academic debates surrounding the topics of religion and climate change, religion and the COVID19 crisis, religion and political instability and religion and technology.
  2. Use different methodological approaches to the study of religion and religious changes.
  3. Apply the theoretical and methodological knowledge gained into the analysis of empirical cases.
  4. Reflect upon the ethical implications of different types of research approaches.
  5. Be equipped for the next stages of you academic career.


6 hours of lectures and discussion
2 hours of group presentations
10 hours of reading (3 articles in total)
3 hours of professionalisation activities
10 hours participation in conference activities

Course schedule

The summer school will consist of two parts. In the first part (Sunday 3 July in the afternoon to Wednesday 6 July at lunch time), each day will be devoted to one of the three key themes of the summer school:

  1. Religion and climate change
  2. Political instability and right-wing populism
  3. Religion, science and artificial intelligence.

Each day will consist of a thematic lecture, a hands-on workshop and a session on professional skills for academic careers.

General programme
  • Thematic sessions with Q&A
  • Oral Presentation skills
  • Grant writing skills
  • Professional skills
Dr Julia Martínez-Ariño

Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion at the University of Groningen. Her main research interests include the Spanish contemporary Jewish communities and their heritage practices, the governance of religious diversity, in particular in cities and public institutions, namely prisons, hospitals and schools, and apostasy in Catholic-majority countries like Argentina and Spain.

Dr Manoela Carpenedo

Postdoctoral Researcher - Religion and Extremism in the global South
Manoela’s work is dedicated to understanding grassroots Christian movements in the global South and their intersections with politics, religious extremism and gender.

Dr Marta KoƂodziejska

Sociologist of religion, currently working at the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Warsaw, Poland.
Her main research focus is on the relationship between (digital) media and religious community, identity, authority, as well as spirituality.

Dr Joram Tarusarira

Assistant Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Groningen. His research interests are at the intersection of religion, violence, peacebuilding, climate change, conflict transformation and reconciliation.

Application procedure

Application documents:

  • CV (2 pages max.)
  • Letter of motivation (1 page max.)
  • Abstract (200 to 250 words of research paper to be presented at ESA virtual conference)

Deadline for application: 30 April 2022.

Selection after the deadline, communication to accepted participants by 10 May.

Please see the Terms and Conditions for the cancellation policy. If the summer school is cancelled due to corona measures in the Netherlands, or if Covid prevents you from joining, a full refund will be given.

Last modified:11 May 2022 3.40 p.m.