Jens Kreinath

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Dr. Kreinath received academic training in the study of religion, ritual, and culture at the University of Heidelberg. After holding degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and History of Religion, he earned his doctoral degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from the same university in 2006. His field of expertise lies in the study of religious minorities in the Eastern Mediterranean. He utilizes mixed methods of ethnographic and historiographic research to capture the long-term dynamics of interreligious relations in Hatay, the southernmost province of Turkey. In studying the coexistence of religious minorities, he focuses on various traditions of saint veneration as they crystallize at pilgrimage sites or amalgamate in legendary myths shared among Christian and Muslim communities in and around Antakya (formerly Antioch). His particular interest lies in the reconstruction of alternative cosmologies that are forgotten, overlooked, or simply hidden in plain sight.

Since 2009, he is member of the working group “Aesthetics of Religion” in the German Association of the Study of Religion and gives various key note lectures on the function of museums to represent cultures and the use of photography in ethnographic fieldwork. From 2013-2017 he was member of an international research collaboration, “Reassembling Democracy: Ritual as Cultural Resource” funded by the Norwegian Research Council. In this context, he conducted research on the impact of the interreligious Antakya Choir of Civilizations on transforming the interaction of the local religious communities and gave public lectures at the University of Oslo on “Filming Rituals” and “Interrituality and Economics of Religious Exchange.”

In addition, he was a visiting scholar at the Centre of Advanced Study at in Oslo in 2014–2015 as part of the research group “Local Dynamics of Globalization in the Premodern Levant” sponsored by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In 2016 he was research fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Anthropological Research in Halle. In 2015–2016, he was visiting professor at the universities of Münster and Tübingen. He also gave a keynote lecture on “Modernity, Postmodernity, and the Anthropology of Islam” at the 2016 Autumn School of the Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies and the Research School for Theology and Religious Studies in Amsterdam. Since 2017–2021, he was member of international research group “Recreating Pluralism: Socio-Religious Continuity in Post-Ottoman Societies” and participated in the Inaugural conference “Shrines: Places of Connection and Contestation” at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. In addition to his academic work, he organized a photo exhibit on the atrocities of the Syrian conflict with the award-winning war photographer Narciso Contreras in Wichita and Tripoli, Lebanon. Some of his ethnographic photographs were featured at exhibits on interreligious coexistence in Istanbul, Ankara, Tripoli, and Cambridge.

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