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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Christina Schröer (History)


Beyond God: Religious Transformations in France and Germany in the Second Half of the 19th Century

Dr. Christina Schröer
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Early Modern History
Junior Fellow

Beyond God: Religious Transformations in France and Germany in the Second Half of the 19th Century
When Jul 11, 2016
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97353
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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For a long time the nineteenth century has been discussed as an age of secularization. Recent research in history, sociology and political sciences has already strongly critiqued this theory. This talk is starting from the finding that the nineteenth century was, in fact, extremely productive and versatile in the field of religion. In the 1880s, a truly ‘spiritual market place’ emerged, and the established churches came to understand that they had finally lost their monopoly on religious interpretation. Many new religious offers emerged within the fields of science, apart from political groups, artistic or intellectual circles. They can be identified as communities of a faith ‘beyond God’, providing alternative interpretations of the meaning of life. In this context, traditional religion did not become obsolete. Instead it underwent a fundamental transformation, being partly adopted by the new cults or reduced to certain topoi and images, and transferred to newly emerging areas of mass society.

This talk will place the religious transformations around 1900 into a larger perspective, firmly rooting them within the political contexts of France and Germany. What kind of new practices and semantics of religion and religiousness emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century in Germany and France? Religion and religiousness are always transnational phenomena, so how can we explain what is perceived as having strong national differentiation and interpretations?