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OnderwijsUniversity of Groningen Summer SchoolsReligion in Cities


Julia Martinez

Dr. Julia Martínez-Ariño is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion and convener of the “Religion and Cities” research cluster of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalization, at the University of Groningen. She has conducted research on the governance of religious diversity in public institutions, such as prisons, hospitals and schools, and cities. In her most recent research, she studied how French municipalities govern and regulate religious diversity.

Alexander Nagel

Dr. Alexander-Kenneth Nagel is professor for Religious Studies at the University of Goettingen. He has published extensively on religious migrant communities, interreligious encounter and the urban governance of religious and cultural diversity. His recent research interests include the handling of religious diversity and practice in German refugee camps and faith-based refugee aid. Since December 1st 2017 he serves as a principal investigator in the Horizon2020-project “Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond” (RESPOND).


Dr. Stefania Travagnin is Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia at the University of Groningen. Travagnin obtained a BA and MA in Chinese Studies at Ca’ Foscari University (2000), and a PhD in the Study of Religions at SOAS, University of London (2009). Her research explores Buddhism and Buddhists in mainland China and Taiwan, and her publications include the edited volume Religion and Media in China: Insights and Case Studies from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong (Routledge, 2016). She is director of the three-year project ‘Mapping Religious Diversity in Modern Sichuan’ funded by the CCKF (2017-2020), with Elena Valussi as co-director. More about her research and publications
can be found on her website .


Dr. Avi Astor is a Ramón y Cajal Fellow with the Research Group on the Sociology of Religion (ISOR) in the Department of Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He has written on a variety of topics related to religion, culture, and identity, with a focus on contemporary Spain. He recently published a book entitled, Rebuilding Islam in Contemporary Spain: The Politics of Mosque Establishment, 1976–2013 (Sussex Academic Press, 2017). His work has also appeared in
several prominent journals, including Theory and Society,
The International Migration Review, The Journal of Ethnic and  
Migration Studies
, andThe Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.


Dr. Joram Tarusarira is Assistant Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding and the Director of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalization the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He attained a PhD from the University of Leipzig, where he was a member of the Research Training Group ‘Religious Non-Conformism and Cultural Dynamics.’ He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Doctoral School at the Center for Reconciliation Studies /Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena . His research topics include religion, conflict, peacebuilding and reconciliation. He is the author of the book : Reconciliation and Religio-political Non-Conformism in Zimbabwe, Routledge.


Dr. Marian Burchardt is a Professor of Sociology at Leipzig University. As a cultural sociologist, he is interested in how power and institutions shape social life in culturally diverse societies. In particular, his research explores from a transregional and comparative perspective how nation-states and urban actors regulate cultural differences and public space and how these regulations affect the practices, socialities, and subjectivities of ordinary citizens. He earned his PhD in sociology from Leipzig University and in 2015 he received the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Award from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the most prestigious German award for junior researchers.

Dr. Mar Griera

Dr. Mar Griera is the Director of the ISOR research group and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She earned her doctorate in Sociology in 2009 with a thesis on public policy and religious diversity, that received the Outstanding Thesis Award (2010) from the UAB and the Manuel Sales i Ferré Prize from the Institute of Catalan Studies (2011). She has promoted and coordinated numerous research projects on religious diversity, religious minorities and new forms of spirituality. She has also published extensively on the subject and has been invited to present her research at universities, such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the University of Bergen (Norway) and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland).


Dr. Richard Gale is a Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. Richard has researched extensively on the relationship between ethnic and ethno-religious diversity and local authority planning. In particular, he has a longstanding interest in the relationship between planning and the spatial politics of mosque construction, on which he has published widely over the last two decades. With Dr Andrew Rogers of Roehampton University, Richard led a Research Council-funded ‘Faith and Place Network’, which generated a Policy Briefing, endorsed by the UK Central Government, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Archbishops of Canterbury and Wales. Richard has also participated in number of significant government consultancies on the theme of faith and planning, under commission to central, local and devolved governments in the UK. Previously, Richard was a Research Fellow at Oxford University on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project that surveyed all publicly registered Muslim mosques, Sikh gurdwaras and Hindu mandirs in England and Wales between 1998 and 2001, producing landmark publications on the changing religious geography of the UK. Through his work on mosques and planning, Richard has an ongoing working relationship with various public bodies, including the RTPI and Historic England, and is currently extending his research on faith, place and planning in the Welsh context with support from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Last modified:02 October 2018 1.07 p.m.