My research has illuminated different dimensions of the encounter between secularism and religion in modern Europe. My monograph Secularism and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Germany: The Rise of the Fourth Confession, Cambridge UP, 2014 (winner of the Jacques Barzun Prize for Cultural History) argued for the insertion of secularism into German religious history, not just as a force acting against the existing Christian confessions, but as a confessional force in its own right.
Recently, I have been pushing this work into the twentieth century, demonstrating that the interwar period marked a second “culture war” in German history. My second monograph investigates secularism and socialism of Germany between 1890 and 1933. As as examing the role of secularism in sociailst culture, it shows that antisecularism was a key element in the organization and radicalization of the political right in the late Weimar Republic.
A second direction of recent work is the transnational history of religion and politics in the interwar period. I initiated and now convene an international research network of ca. 30 scholars on the “Socialism and Religion in the Twentieth Century”, which held its first conference in June 2015 on interwar religious politics. A follow-up conference on religion and socialism in the long 1960s was held in Groningen in June 2017, and a conference on apologetics and politics was convened wtih the support of the British Academy in September 2017.
A third area of research interest is the history of Weltanschauung/worldview in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In spring 2017, I gave a Tedx Talk on the subject.
Since coming to Groningen, I have begun to develop a series of collaborations with NGOs and university partners on the relationship of heritage and interreligious dialogue.