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Staff and fellows


Dr. Brenda Mathijssen

Dr Brenda Mathijssen is Universitair Docent Psychologie, Cultuur en Religie aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Haar onderzoek bestudeert de menselijke omgang met dood en rouw in hedendaags Europa, met bijzondere aandacht voor betekenisverlening, rituelen, geleefde religie en spiritualiteit, religieuze en etnische diversiteit en ecologie. Daarnaast houdt zij zich bezig met geestelijke verzorging. Ze behaalde haar PhD in de Religiewetenschappen aan de Radboud Universiteit (2017) en werkt momenteel aan een NWO Veni-project dat duurzame uitvaart praktijken in multiculturele contexten bestudeert. Ze is als onderzoeker verbonden aan bij het Centre for Death and Life Studies aan Durham University, ASDS Death Studies Ambassador voor Nederland en lid van het European Network on Death Rituals. Recente publicaties zijn onder andere: Intersections of (infra)structural violence and cultural inclusion: the geopolitics of minority cemeteries and crematoria provision (TIBG, 2021), Non-Denominational Spiritual Care Givers and the Development of their Spirituality. (Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 2021) and Funerary Practices in the Netherlands (Emerald Publishing, 2019).

Staff and fellows

Dr. Gorazd AndrejĨ

Dr Gorazd AndrejĨ is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion at University of Groningen, and a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Philosophical Studies, Science and Research Centre of Koper, Slovenia. Gorazd’s research is mostly in philosophy of religious language and communication, religious experience and epistemology, as well as in the areas of religion, science, and technology and religion and environment. His current project Creatures, Humans, Robots, funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), is exploring the tensions between humanist and posthumanist interpretations of humanness, religion, and technology. His books include Interpreting Interreligious Relations with Wittgenstein (Brill, 2019, co-edited with Daniel Weiss) and Wittgenstein and Interreligious Disagreement: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). He has completed a MSt at University of Cambridge (2009) and a PhD at University of Exeter (2013).

Dr. Brenda Bartelink

Brenda Bartelink is Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen. Her research is focussed on health, care, gender and sexuality in relation to religion and secularity. She is currently working on various projects, includingreligious actors approaches to sexual wellbeing in African-Dutch communities andfoster care and religious diversity. She also works on gender based violence in relation to religion, amongst others leading to a volume co-edited with Tamsin Bradley and Chia Longman with Routledge in 2022. In all her projects she works closely with societal actors, civil society organisations and policymakers to strengthen connections between academic research and practice.

Recent publications include:

  • 2020. The ambivalence of the immanent: Human security and the development response to HIV and AIDS in Uganda. In J. Tarusarira, & E. Chitando (Eds.), Themes in Religion and Human Security Routledge, Taylor and Francis group.
  • with E. Le Roux.2020. What is in a name? Identifying the harm in 'harmful traditional practices'. In O. Wilkinson, & K. Kraft (Eds.), International Development Actors and Local Faith Communities: Ideological and Cultural Encounters Routledge, Taylor and Francis group.
  • Bartelink, B., & Knibbe, K.(2019).Seksueel welzijn in de context van religieuze en culturele diversiteit. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Sanne Koelewijn-Wiersma, MA

Sanne Koelewijn-Wiersma is the programme manager of the master “Werk en Zingeving” at the University of Groningen. She is involved in developing the master ‘Werk en Zingeving’.

Prof. Christoph Jedan

Prof. Christoph Jedan, professor of Ethics and Comparative Philosophy of Religion

Dr. Kim Knibbe


Dr. Elena Muciarelli

Elena Mucciarelli, director of the Institute of Indian Studies, is Gonda Lecturer and Assistant Professor of Hinduism in the Sanskrit Tradition at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen. She is member of the ERC-funded research project NEEM (The New Ecology of Expressive Modes in Early-Modern South India), directed by David Shulman, and has a vast experience in various international and interdisciplinary scholarly teams.

After obtaining a joint PhD in Indic Studies from the Universities of Tübingen and Turin (2011), Dr. Mucciarelli was appointed research assistant at Univerisità degli Studi di Cagliari (2012-2013), and at the University of Tübingen (2016-2017) for the creation of the "Gundert Portal". In 2014-2015 she was principal investigator in the research project “Kings of the Wild: The Re-use of Local and Vedic Elements in the Legitimation Process of Medieval Karnataka” financed by DFG and carried out at the University of Tübingen. From 2017 to 2020 she has been research fellow at the Martin Buber Society, Hebrew University (Israel).

In her research, Mucciarelli focuses on the cultural history of South India combining philology, anthropology, and media studies. Her holistic approach brings together the study of primary sources in several languages and field work, especially in South India where she has been going for the last 10 years to study and document ritual practices as well as a unique form of engendered temple theater tradition. Mucciarelli's scholarly interests encompass the study of performative and ritual traditions, the conceptualization of magic and healing through the analysis of ritual practices and textualized knowledge, and the articulation of materiality and cultural techniques in relation to indigenous categories.

Dr. Hanneke Muthert

Dr. Hanneke Muthert is Professor Psychology of Religion with special attention for Spiritual Care and Wellbeing at the University of Groningen.

Dr. Anja Visser

Anja Visser is Universitair Docent Geestelijke Verzorging aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Haar onderzoek richt zich op de organisatie van zorg voor zingeving en uitkomstmeting in geestelijke verzorging. Momenteel is zij werkzaam als hoofdonderzoek op het project ‘Spirituele zorg dichtbij huis’ (gefinancierd door ZonMw, PIN en Porticus). Daarnaast is zij voorzitter van de werkgroep Effectonderzoek in de Kenniswerkplaats Zingeving en Geestelijke Verzorging (gefinancierd door ZonMw). Tot voor kort deed ze onderzoek naar de rol van spiritualiteit in het omgaan met kanker. Het bevorderen van de kwaliteit van onderzoek naar (zorg voor) zingeving en spiritualiteit is een centraal aandachtspunt in haar werk.

Dr. Jelle Wiering

Jelle Wiering is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen. His main research interests are work, the body, secularity, sexuality, and religion. In 2020, Wiering defended his PhD thesis Secular Practices: the production of Religious Difference in the Dutch field of Sexual Health. Previously, Wiering conducted anthropological fieldwork among Navayana Buddhists in Utrecht, and Dutch pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela.

PhD candidates

Catharina Gerigk, MA

Catharina Gerigk, MA

PhD project: Spiritual care in healthcare: The effects of a spiritual care training on patients, relatives and healthcare professionals

As a scholarship PhD candidate at the UMCG and RUG, Catharina Gerigk analyses the effects of spiritual care in healthcare. Specifically, she looks at the project "zorg voor zin als niet alles is wat het lijkt", a spiritual care training that was conceptualized and is currently being implemented at the UMCG and various other healthcare institutions. This training is intended for all people involved in patient care. It aims at bridging the gap between patients' wish to have their caretakers attend to their spiritual needs on the one hand, and the healthcare professionals' perceived lack of competence to do so on the other. In her research, Catharina focuses on the phenomenological experience of giving and receiving spiritual care and the impact of the training on patients, their relatives, as well as the healthcare professionals themselves.

Last modified:27 January 2023 11.29 a.m.
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