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Beyond the Secular: Narrativizing religious change in contemporary German novels


The death of God and the disenchantment of the world are central to self-presentations of modernity. At the dawn of the third millennium, however, the worldwide growth of religious fundamentalisms as well as the pluralisation and individualization (but not the disappearance) of faith in the West suggest the need for a more nuanced understanding of the relation between secularity, modernity and religion. This is not only a matter for empirical research in Social, Political and Religious Studies. “Modernity,” “secularity” and “religion” are, in important ways, interpretive categories shaped by cultural narratives through which individuals and societies understand their world. The project “Beyond the Secular” studies a defined corpus of such narratives: contemporary German-language novels which articulate non-secular and religious experiences and worldviews. Through an interdisciplinary methodology combining close reading and narratological analysis with contextual readings in religious sociology, theology, and political philosophy, the project seeks to determine the potential of literature for the perception and narrativization of religious change in late modern societies.

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Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 195 454,80