The research activities at MF are organised in thematic research groups.
These research groups develop and implement research projects, and seek external funding for such projects. The aim is to promote research of high quality, develop and implement research projects, academic publications and research communication.
The research groups have one leader. The members of the research groups are academic staff members in full or part time positions, including PhD students and post docs. Academic staff members at MF are normally members of one or more of these research groups. The research groups may also have members from other institutions.
Critical Romani Studies
The research group Critical Romani Studies brings together researcher who apply critical approaches to Romani studies and related topics. At present its members are working with:
- Romani enslavement, i.e. memorialisation and present-day consequences
- The Holocaust, i.e. comparisons on memorialisation and recognition of the Shoah and Porajmos/Samudaripen, Holocaust in education
- Antigypsyism/ anti-Romani racism, including its foundations and present-day manifestations
- Migration and social exclusion, i.e. Romani people experiencing rough sleeping/ vulnerable EU-citizens in Wester-European societies
- Education, i.e. Romani history in curricula and teaching, critique of the integration and inclusion paradigms
- Epistemic (in)justice and decoloniality, i.e. epistemic privilege, indigenous methodology, critical analysis of the research field of Romani Studies
- LGBTQI+ and feminism, i.e. intersectional perspectives on antigypsyism/ anti-Romani racism
The group works to bridge Critical Romani Studies with other relevant research fields, and comparative perspectives are employed in all the above. In the work on Romani enslavement and its memorialisation and consequences we particularly look to the Afro-American slavery. On the topic of racism and anti-racism, comparison is made with e.g. antisemitism, anti-Sami racism, islamophobia and afrophobia. In historical research parallels are drawn to broader discussions on processing of the past and restorative processes, and how this can be included in education.
The research group has an outspoken goal of contributing to the fight against antigypsyism/ anti-Romani racism within academia and beyond, and contribute to the realisation of human rights for Roma.
Ongoing research projects:
- MEMOROBIA: Memorialisation of Romani enslavement in territories of contemporary Romania
- Evaluating new approaches to working with Roma people in Westminster and beyond
Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen
Jan Selling (Södertörn)
Margareta Matache (Harvard)
Critical Islamic Studies - Research Group and (Online) Consortium
CIS research group and consortium is an academic research unit at the Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF) whose aims are to engage with both historical and modern analysis of and research in the field of Islamic studies.
The research group considers both Arabic and non-Arabic texts as well theoretical literature on the subject, in order to interrogate the nature and boundaries of the field of Islamic studies, and to deconstruct hegemonic discourses and historical processes of Eurocentrism that paint a partial and/or biased picture of Islam the Muslim world. It is devised as a platform to further implement current research on Islamic studies at MF and more broadly in Oslo, as well as to seek external funding opportunities and collaboration.
Part of the initiative is also the (online) consortium of guest lectures entitled “Critical Islamic Studies Lecture Series” hosted by the group leader at the MF's Center for Advanced Study of Religion (MF CASR), in order to discuss book projects and new research by international scholars in studies of Islam, the Middle East and/or South (East) Asia. The lectures, being interdisciplinary in nature, are open to the public, and are meant to facilitate an engaged discussions on epistemological, conceptual, methodological, and/or ethical predicaments within Islamic thought. The primary audience of these programs are those interested in Islamic studies, Religious Studies, and Area Studies more broadly.
Webinars will be open to the public and require Zoom registration.
Sami Al-Daghistani (MF/Columbia University/BISR)
Omar Anchassi (University of Bern)
Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi (IKOS, University of Oslo)
Safet Bektovic (TF, University of Oslo)
Nora Sunniva Eggen (TF, University of Oslo)
Erik Skare ( University of Oslo/CERI, Sciences Po)
Erik Hovden (University of Bergen)
Rajbir Judge (University of California, Long Beach)
Mahmood Kooriadathodi (Leiden/Ashoka University)
Eivind Larsen (NLA University College Bergen)
Monika Lindbekk (University of Southern Denmark)
Laila Makboul (IKOS, UiO)
Christian Mauder (University of Bergen)
Joakim Parslow (University of Copenhagen)
Amina Selimović (TF, University of Oslo)
Erik Skare (IKOS, University of Oslo)
Knut Vikør (University of Bergen)
Hymnology and hymnbook history
This research group has developed in response to MF’s newly acquired Ellingsen collection. Svein Ellingsen was one of Norway’s most revered hymn writers and his private collection of books and writings is now housed at MF in Oslo. The research group will strive to make the Ellingsen collection available for research, and initiate research activities taking the collection itself as a point of departure.
In addition, the group will pursue topics such as contemporary Norwegian hymnbooks, the renewal within Norwegian and Nordic hymnology post WWII, both in terms of lyrics and music. The Hymnology research group will also serve as an arena for the development of research projects on topics related to hymnbook history, theology in hymns, and the meeting points between theology and creativity.
Per Kristian Aschim
Lutheran Theology in Contemporary Perspective
This research group is concerned with the Lutheran tradition and the development of contemporary theology. The basic aim will be to consider how the Lutheran tradition can be carried on into the twenty-first century, using the Nordic context as the historical and contemporary framework.
Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen
Manuscript Cultures and Modern Knowledge Production
Ancient manuscripts have played a complex role in the construction of modern knowledge in Europe. The members of this research group work on Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic and Latin religious manuscripts using theoretical resources from critical archive studies, new philology, feminist theory, and post-colonial thought.
Current group projects address the history of manuscript acquisition and problems of provenance arising out of the enmeshment of European archives with colonialism and extractive capitalism. Historiographical, epistemic, methodological and theoretical problems connected to the study of ancient manuscripts expand upon traditional philological approaches and lead us to ask about how, why, by whom and for what purpose ancient manuscripts were used in the construction of academic disciplines, religious identities or racialized hierarchies.
We meet monthly to share our research and seek to both foster PhDs and post-docs and network internationally with other groups with related interests.
Matthew P. Monger
Migration, Minorities and Marginalisation
The group focuses its research on two marginalised groups of migrants: refugees and poor EU citizens. Particular attention is given to unaccompanied minors, undocumented migrants and Roma.
The research group facilitates and carries out research in the fields of diaconia and social work. Our aim is not only to attain new knowledge, but also to consciously monitor how research may create change. Critical perspectives on research, power and participation are central to our projects. Consequently, we seek to apply and develop methods that are in themselves diaconal, i.e. forms of action research and 'tripartite' research where researchers, practitioners and participants are included as equal partners in the research process.
The research group was established in close cooperation with the Church City Mission in Oslo.
Sturla J. Stålsett.
Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen
Carl Petter Opsahl
Arnhild Taksdal, leder av Fagutviklingsenheten SKBO, kriminolog
Per Kristian Hilden, forsker II ved Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter om vold og traumatisk stress, og førsteamanuensis ved Universitetet i Oslo.
Marit Nybø, avdelingsleder, Fattige tilreisende, SKBO
Laila Jensen, SKBO
Noor Jdid, SKBO
The research group “Navigating Existence” focuses on lived existential experience in empirical research and practice.
The research group brings together researchers and practitioners from the existential field in Norway, with the overall aim of promoting practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
What is the 'existential field'?
In practice, the 'existential field' refers to existential psychotherapy and counselling, palliative care and other areas of care, but also to an "existentially aware" society, with potential implications for social, political, and climate-related practice.
In the context of research, this involves addressing, theoretically and empirically, issues such as (but not exclusively) dealing with suffering, death and dying; freedom and responsibility; existential health; consequences of different worldviews; the relationships between different life forms; alienation and various forms of belonging, and meaning in life.
To bridge the gap between research and practice, the group will:
- share, with each other, ongoing research projects and experiences with existential practice,
- discuss fundamental epistemological and methodological questions,
- identify questions that can be addressed in interdisciplinary projects and studies,
- interact with the general public, and
- inspire collaboration in emerging research teams.
The group meets four times per year. One meeting per year will take the form of a one-day workshop with an invited speaker. The workshop and some of the meetings will be open to colleagues and PhD students.
Tatjana Schnell – Professor of Existential Psychology, MF Specialized University & Professor II, Existential Psychology Lab, Institute of Psychology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Ole Magnus Vik – Psychotherapist & Leader, Norsk forening for eksistensiell terapi
- Anne Austad – Professor, VID Specialized University
- Lars Johan Danbolt – Professor II, MF Specialized University & Director, Center for Existential Health, Sanderud
- Sigrid Helene Kjørven Haug – Associate Professor, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Høgskolen i Innlandet
- Gustav Jørgen Pedersen – PhD, Head of Research, MUNCH
- Sebastian Rehnman – Professor, University of Stavanger & Professor II, VID Specialized University
- Christiaan Rhodius – Elderly Care Physician/Consultant in Palliative Medicine
- Astrid Rønsen – Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, NTNU Gjøvik & Chairwoman, Hospiceforum Norge
- Gry Stålsett (MF) – Associate Professor, MF Specialized University
- Torgeir Sørensen – Professor, VID Specialized University
PERSIAS - Perceptions and Receptions of Persia
PERSIAS is a research group established in 2018 by the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament section at MF. PERSIAS explores various perceptions and receptions of the Achaemenid Empire/Persia in the Hebrew Bible and other Judean material from Judah, Babylon and Egypt, dated to Persian times and onwards.
PERSIAS aims at stimulating multidisciplinary discussions on theoretical and methodical perspectives related to examinations of the many ways in which ideas of “Persia” have been transmitted, interpreted, adapted and used.
Practical theology is an academic discipline with porous boundaries, a wide variety of approaches, and a number of subject areas. Practical theology significantly impacts research and teaching at MF.
The research group in practical theology has the following objectives:
To strengthen the professional environment in practical theology at MF and to build a community around this research field - both nationally and internationally - by inviting relevant professionals into a larger research group. We still maintain a cutting edge through work on specific research projects.
The research group has a broad approach in terms of subject matter and theoretical perspectives, but with a strong emphasis on qualitative methods.
The group meets three or four times each semester around a repertoire of different types of presentations, most often paper presentations of ongoing research to which the participants can respond. Other presentations include current theoretical developments, state of the art presentations within a more specific research area, and ideas for research applications. The research group can function as an extended reference group for ongoing research projects, and will also be a suitable forum for thinking creatively about responses to new calls for research funding.
A new activity in the spring of 2023 is a practical theological reading group that meets once a month (in addition to the ordinary research group meetings) to discuss current practical theological texts.
The research group is primarily for MF employees, but external researchers and research recruits also participate in our gatherings. Several of the projects listed here are related to significant international and national networks within the field, and we will continue to develop such collaboration opportunities.
Silje Kivle Andreassen (MF, Holmlia menighet)
Ingerid Louise Birkeland
Mathias Gillebo (Kirkerådet og MF)
Gyrid Gunnes (VID)
Andreas Hegertun (Filadelfiakirken)
Gunnhild Nordgaard Hermstad (Kirkerådet)
Vegard Holm (NLA)
Rasmus Lund Jonstrup
Ingvild Bjørnøy Lalim
Hilde Marie Movafagh
Linn Sæbø Rystad
Merete Thomassen (TF, UiO)
Maria Stensvold Ånonsen
Religion and Sport
The research group “Religion and Sports” aims at nourishing and promoting research on religion as it occurs in sport arenas. By studying the interconnections between sports and religion, we seek a deeper understanding of how these dimensions of society influence on people’s political, cultural and personal lives.
Svein Olaf Thorbjørnsen
Religion and Politics
The aim of this research group is to create a platform for the many research initiatives and projects at MF in the field of political theology and religion & politics. The group has an interdisciplinary and comparative profile and welcomes researchers from theology, the study of religion, political science, history, cultural studies, sociology, and other relevant disciplines.
The Religion and Politics group encourages research to build broad analytic frameworks for comparative studies of religion and politics across religious traditions, time periods, and geographic areas. The ambition of the group is to engage in dialogue with different theoretical paradigms and evaluate them based on qualitative empirical studies. The group will also focus on political theology and implicit theologies of historical and contemporary political structures, in order to understand the enduring political significance of theological imaginaries.
An important aim of the group is to contribute to the growing literature on religion and politics that seek to “provincialize” Europe and North America and foster a truly global theoretical approach to the field. Along similar lines, the group will study the role of religion in creating, stabilizing, and challenging international order(s). This includes both the concept of religion itself—how it is incorporated into international theory and practice—and how particular religious traditions can be used to consolidate power and influence, and craft challenges to established orders in the international sphere.
- Religious legitimations of political power
- Sacred monarchies and sacralization of leadership
- State politics of religion (including pre-modern polities)
- Religion and law
- Religion and Empire
- Religion, revolution and utopias
- Religion and nationalism
- Religion and international politics
- Conversion and theo-political shifts
- Pluralism and social cohesion
- The “secular”, secularity and secularism
Researching education in a globalized world
The research group “Researching education in a globalized world” contributes to developing and strengthening a research community within the field of international and comparative education and development in Norway and beyond. Our field covers thematic areas such as
- comparative studies in education;
- curriculum studies;
- education in emergencies and in conflict areas;
- education and politics (civic education)
- education and the sustainable development agenda;
- critical, decolonial, counterhegemonic and indigenous perspectives in education and educational research; and
- the integration of knowledge systems in education.
We also study and develop methodologies and ethics that are suitable to research the above thematic areas. This includes a focus on both various ethnographic methods, visual methods and the exploration of indigenous/non-Western research methodologies, theories and para-digms. The group consists of both Norwegian and international members as researching education in a globalized world is dependent on collaborations across and beyond North-South divides.
Our three main objectives are:
- developing and promoting/strengthening an important field of research
- discussing and sharing research through co-publications, paper presentations locally and internationally
- developing international research projects across continents, with a primary focus on sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.
Members at MF
- Mehdi Abdi, University of Hawassa, Ethiopia
- Abdul-Razak Kuyini Alhassan, Professor in Pedagogy, University of South East Norway
- Samuel Assefa, University og Hawassa, Ethiopia
- Denise Bentrovato, Research Fellow, Department of Humanities Education, University of Pretoria
- Louis Botha, Senior Lecturer, Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand
- Anders Breidlid, professor, OsloMet
- Tami Carsillo, PhD candidate at George Mason University
- Live Grinden, Høgskulen på Vestlandet
- Atre Kassu, University of Hawassa, Ethiopia
- Moyra Keane, associate professor and research associate, University of Johannesburg
- Constance Khupe, academic advisor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand
- Lerato Lesenyeho, WITS
- Wilson Machinya, WITS
- Farasten Mashozhera, Rhodes University
- Vongai Mpofu, Bindura University of Science Education
- Kenneth Mlungisi Ngcoza, Professor in education, Rhodes University
- Zukiswa Nhase, lecturer, University of the Free State, South Africa
- Sipho Nuntsu, PhD Student, Rhodes University, South Africa
- Martha Nyamakuti, PhD Student, University of Namibia
- Brita Phuthi, OsloMet
- Uche Omoruyi, University of Fort Hare
- Bongani Shabangu, Universtity of Hawassa, Ethiopia
- Diriba Ragea Tumsa, University of Hawassa, Ethiopia
- Paul Thomas, Professor in pedagogy, University of South East Norway (USN)
- Harrison Katonga, Tanzania
- Joyce Raanhuis, post-doc, University of Pretoria
- Alawia Farag, associate professor of education, Ahfad University for Women, Khartoum
Sociology of Religion
We are a group whose primary goals are to strengthen of sociology of religion as a disciplinary identity and increase our visibility as a research community. We will do this through regular meetings, exchange and discussion of our own and others’ research, network building with externals, and development sociological research projects on religion, and funding applications.
The research group will in other words have a broad profile and a long term goal of strengthening the sociology of religion at MF, and supporting each other professionally, but we plan to also work on more concrete thematic research questions and projects where we have common interests, for example around religion and identity, self presentation, vulnerability and conformity.
The group will meet 2-3 times per semester for presentation and discussion of e.g. article manuscripts, conference presentations, or drafts of funding applications. These meetings could also be used for discussions of literature or brainstorming around particular topics, theories or methods with the aim to develop new projects. We will also organise an annual seminar with an external speaker which will be open to all staff and students at MF.
Despite our primary focus on research in the sociology of religion, we are also open to interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations, and recognize that there are significant overlaps with other disciplines within anthropology, psychology, religious studies and politics among others.
The increasingly rapid development of artificial intelligence activates a series of ethical problems, including some which may be unique in history. Autonomous weapons, self-driving cars, robots more intelligent than humans, superfluous workers, and massive body engineering, are some of the relevant problems. The research group will work on developing an ethical theoretical framework for central problems connected to artificial intelligence.
Our website: https://techphil.mf.no/
Atle O. Søvik, Professor of systematic theology with metaethics and philosophy of mind as research area.
- Einar Duenger Bøhn, Professor of philosophy (UiA). Researcher for Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) with a project on artificial morality.
- Andreas Brekke Carlsson, PhD (UiO) on philosophy of responsibility and secretary of the Norwegian Council for Defense Ethics (with autonomous weapons as one area of research).
- Magnus Rønning, PhD-student (UiA) with project on conditions for understanding machines as agents.
- Leonora Onarheim Bergsjø, førsteamanuensis TF (UiO), researcher on artificial intelligence and ethics.
UV - Education and Values
The interdisciplinary research group Education and values (Utdanning og verdier - UV) works with different projects connected to professional ethics and values in school, kindergarten and higher education. This is highly relevant in a time of an increased focus on how values are secured in school, combined with a high level of accountability politics and testing. The research group is empirically oriented and work with ethics and values as aspects of social practices in education. This is different from the dominating traditional individualistic and cognitive understandings in both philosophical and psychological research on the field. The research group will provide new knowledge about the education field and values.
Lars Laird Iversen
Marielle Stigum Gleiss