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The academic goal of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe (KHK) is to develop a comprehensive theory of the transfer of religions, which addresses both the oscillating interactions of inter-religious impulses and the dynamics of intra-religious conflicts.


The trans-disciplinary and comparative approach employed at the KHK combines material and systematic studies as well as historical and contemporary research on religions. It also links the perspective of religious semantics with the perspective on social structures. The research especially focuses on relational aspects as constituents of religious formation processes enabling the characterisation of geographically-extensive networks of cultural and religious traditions as protracted processes of orientation and exchange.


Material research within the KHK focuses on exemplary case studies regarding the formation, expansion and deterritorialisation of the Euro-Asiatic religious traditions and the historical development of their respective terminologies. Starting with the new funding term in 2014, every fellow year follows an overarching topic:

  • topic 2014-2015: Tradition
  • topic 2015-2016: Religion and the Senses
  • topic 2016-2017: Transcendence and Immanence

Besides these overarching topics, four focus groups structure the research work. These groups are closely integrated in the framing structure of the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) and its research programme and provide a fruitful environment for discussions and inspriring interdisciplinary work. All visiting scholars and researchers of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg are exprected to join one (or more) of the focus groups according to their individual research interest.

Since 2016, the following groups have been working:

  • focus group 1: knowledge
  • focus group 2: experience
  • focus group 3: materiality
  • focus group 4: action

Further Reading

Krech, Volkhard. "Religious Contacts in Past and Present Times: Aspects of a Research Programme." Religion 42 (2012): 191-213.

Krech, Volkhard. "Dynamics in the History of Religions: Preliminary Considerations on Aspects of a Research Programme." In Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe: Encounters, Notions and Comparative Perspectives, edited by Volkhard Krech, and Marion Steinicke, 15-70. Leiden: Brill, 2011.