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Lecture Series | The Invention of the Modern Religious Bookshelf

News from Apr 17, 2023

Organised by Christian Meyer, project "The Invention of the Modern Religious Bookshelf: Canons, Concepts and Communities", Research Area 3: "Future Perfect".

Over the course of 2023 the EXC 2020 project "The Making of the Modern Religious Bookshelf: Canons, Concepts and Communities" will host a nine-part lecture series. Summarized best by the alternative title of "on the way towards a theory of the modern religious bookshelf" each of the nine lectures in the series will explore the space in between a single volume and the organizations that house them. Starting with the observation that religious literature often occupies a peculiar place in modern libraries and bookshops sitting under headers like Eastern Wisdom, Esoteric, or World Religion, the lecture series pursues the questions how those bookshelves developed, who were local communities or global networks behind the new canon and who were (or are) the relevant institutions or agents. Especially, how to interpret the role local practices played in displaying, shelving, or sorting books and what this means for the development of the modern religious bookshelf as a sort of agent in forming a new global religious canon.


11 January 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Introduction: What is the 'Modern Religious Bookshelf'?

Prof. Dr. Christian Meyer & Anton Terhechte, M.A. (both EXC 2020, Freie Universität Berlin)

1 February 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Universalism, Perennialism, and the Modern Religious Bookshelf

Prof. Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus University)

17 May 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

From Huysmans to Crowley: The Devil in Turkey

Prof. Dr. Laurent Mignon (Oxford University)


21 June 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

What if Christian Saints Turn Out to Be Buddhists? The Barlaam and Josaphat Legend in Japan and Its Afterlives

PD Dr. Katja Triplett  (Leipzig Unviersity/University of Marburg)

12 July 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Mircea Eliade and the Function of Reading for Religion in Modernity

Stefanie Burkhardt, M.A. (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

18 October 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Hinduism, Tantra, and the Question of an 'Esoteric Corpus'

PD Dr. Julian Strube (University of Vienna)


1 November 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Max Müller's Sacred Books and the Prehistory of Comparative Literature

Prof. Angus Nicholls (Queen Mary University of London)


8 November 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Challenging Classification Systems of the 'Global North': The Modern Religious Bookshelf from an Area Studies Librarians' Perspective

Dr. Cosima Wagner (Freie Universität Berlin)

20 December 2023 | 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

How the Upanishads Became Part of the Religious Bookshelf (And What This Has to Do With Islam)

Prof. Dr. Franz Winter (University of Graz)


Freie Universität Berlin

Room 2.2051 (Holzlaube)

Fabeckstraße 23–25

14195 Berlin

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