Transnationalizing the History of Religious Education in the 19th and 20th century

International Conference | September 30 to October 2, 2015

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The issue of religious education has played a significant role in the history of Education. Central topics of an ongoing debate are e.g. the appropriateness of certain models of RE at schools, the division between the state and religious communities in educational matters, or the relation between Islam and the West.

Religious education as an academic discipline (“Religionspädagogik”) is related to these subjects in historical, empirical, comparative und systematic perspectives. Nonetheless, the Historiography of Education has until now shown little interest in the results of RE historians, thus blocking out an important part of education. Therefore, this conference will bring together international historians of education as well as of religion and religious education.

The goal is to develop a broader, comparative understanding of the History of Religious Education in the 19th and 20th century. Therefore, 28 presenters will engage with three important questions: Which media function as the main supporter of the globalization process in the field of religious education, e.g. journals, textbooks and pictures? Which organizational models are transferred from one country into another, e.g. organizational models of Islamic religious education at schools in Europe? Which non-national actors and global religious networks can be observed in the field of religious education, e.g. the impact of Protestant and Catholic missionary activity on religious education? By doing so, the conference also attempts to expand the methodology of transnational history in the field of (religious) education.

In conclusion, transnational perspectives in religious matters will hopefully receive a positive echo both in historical and comparative research. The categories of “media”, “organizational models” and “non-national actors and global religious networks” central to the transnational approach are also useful for the analysis of transnational and global processes in the field of Islam and Islamic education today. Therefore, the conference also offers a platform for historical and comparative views on the history of Islamic education.

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