Dr Julia Martínez Ariño has been appointed Assistant Professor in Sociology of Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen as of 1 March 2017. The Spanish sociologist previously held a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen.
Martínez Ariño’s teaching in Groningen will focus on the sociology of religion and on social science research methods, while her research will concentrate on the policy and governance issues related to religious diversity in European post-immigration societies. She is currently conducting a study on how urban actors - including the local administration, politicians, religious organisations, secular associations and other civil society groups - ‘negotiate’ public expressions of religiosity in the urban space. Her PhD project consisted of a sociological analysis of Jewish communities in the city of Barcelona. Julia will be a member of the department of the Comparative Study of Religion. Her position also entails coordinating the department’s methods course units, at the Bachelor’s as well as the Master’s levels.
Julia Martínez Ariño: ‘My decision to apply for this position at the University of Groningen was founded on my ambition to further my academic career. My main goal for the coming years is to set up my own research agenda as an independent academic, while also contributing to the department’s research plans. The department of the Comparative Study of Religion is an interdisciplinary department, where I hope to gain insights for my research from various different perspectives. I am also hoping to acquire external funding to expand the research I have been conducting over the past years. My goal for the future is to become professor.’
Julia was awarded a PhD in Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) in 2012 for a study of contemporary Jewish communities in Spain. From September 2014 to February 2017 she held a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen), where she also worked as a post-doctoral fellow in 2013. Funded by the German state, this institute is the most prestigious research institution in Germany.
In 2014 she worked as a post-doctoral fellow within the ‘Religion and Diversity Project’ at the Université de Montréal (Chaire religion, culture et société). She co-founded the ‘Religion and Public Institutions Research Network’ and is co-editor-in-chief of ‘New Diversities’, an online journal published by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Julia conducted research in Spain, Canada, Germany and France.
Together with her colleagues from Göttingen she is currently in the concluding phase of a comparative study on how French and German cities shape diversity structures. This project is funded by the Max Planck Instituut. Within this project she has developed her own research interest in how French cities deal with religious diversity in terms of policy and governance.
How does Julia like her new work environment? ‘The UG is a very dynamic university with a strong international orientation. That was one of my reasons for choosing Groningen.’ The partnerships that the University and the Faculty have with universities in Europe and beyond make it possible to collaborate with colleagues in other countries and facilitate academic exchange. The Faculty’s Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes are currently being redesigned, and I am thankful to be part of this process. In addition, the fact that this is a multidisciplinary faculty makes working here not only extra challenging but also extra attractive’, says Julia.
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