In September 2016, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education (BMB) established a Special Research Area ‚Interreligiosity’ at the Private University College for Teacher Education Vienna/Krems (KPH). The Research Area is supposed to provide an empirical context-sensitive basis for enhancing interreligious competence in teacher education. It is a cooperation between the KPH Vienna/Krems and the Private University College of Education, Linz (PH Linz).




15th Seminar „Interkulturalität und Mehrsprachigkeit in der schulischen Praxis“ - „Interculturality and plurilingualism in educational practice" Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter and Eva Kepplinger will run a workshop: „Diversity at School – Handling religious Diversity in a pedagogical setting: A Research Projekt of the KPH Wien/Krems, IRPA and University of Vienna”




“Religious Diversity in School Development: Perspectives of Religious Pedagogy”:

Dr. Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter will give a lecture on March 21st at 6.00 p.m. in the context of a “Forum”.

More information




Lecture Series: ,Interreligious Competence`

The Special Research Area ‚Interreligiosity‘ is happy to invite you – in cooperation with the Center of Competence ‚interkulturelles, interreligiöses und interkonfessionelles Lernen‘ – to a lecture series on modern classics in the field of ‚interreligious competence‘.

The first date is scheduled for 16 March 2017, 4:15 to 6:15 pm in room 1.17. Prof. Dr. Alfred Garcia Sobreira-Majer will introduce into Joachim Willem’s concept or ‚interreligious competence‘. Please find additional information on the first meeting here. And these are the links to the meetings on April 20, May 11 and June 22.




Barbara Weiß’ radio-transmission ‚Religion als Ursache von Konflikten / Religion as a Cause of Conflict‘ inter alia (BAYERN 2, 10.03.2017) features Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann as one of the experts in the field.

Lehmann will be ‘on air’ between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m.




Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann presents a paper at this year’s Dürnstein Symposium

In his paper – entitled ‚Zum ambivalenten Verhältnis von Religionen und Gewalt / On the ambivalent relationship between religions and violence’ – Karsten Lehmann will provide a short survey on most recent Religious Studies-approaches to the study of religions and violence. Following this paper, there will be a plenary discussion between Wolfgang Palaver, Nikita Dhawan, Philippe Buc und Karsten Lehmann.




Dr. Edith Petschnigg gives a specialist lecture at the network meeting "Christian-Jewish Dialogue in Lower Saxony"

At the network meeting "Christian-Jewish Dialogue in Lower Saxony" on March 8th 2017 in Hannover Edith Petschnigg gives a specialist lecture on the topic "How can Jewish-Christian Dialogue successfully be done? Case examples and attempts to create a set of criteria". Petschnigg presents results of her PhD thesis "'What unites us, is the Bible'. History and Biblical Reception of Jewish-Christian Grassroots Initiatives in Germany and Austria after 1945" and illustrates a set of criteria for the success of Jewish-Christian dialogue.




In preparation of the 2017 Dürnstein Symposium ‘Gesellschaft, Staat, Gewalt / Society, State and Violence’, Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann takes part in a live radio transmission on Radio Orange 94.0

You can follow the transmission on 27.02.2017 from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., or listen to it from the archive.




Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann got appointed ‚Senior Research Fellow‘ at the Religious Studies Department of Vienna University.

In the context of this cooperation Karsten Lehmann wants to contribute to more in-depth research on the present-day religious scene. In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Wolfram Reiss he is -inter alia – planning a conference on religious plurality in Austria.




Cooperation with University of Kentucky - preparatory meeting

In preparation of a research project on ‚Local Religious Plurality in Vienna, Austria‘, Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann met his colleague Prof. Dr. Stan Brunn from the University of Kentucky. The Geographer Stan Brunn is highly interested in future cooperation concerning the mapping of religious plurality.




Book presentation: „Religion in der Schulentwicklung. Eine empirische Studie.“ – “Religion in school development. An empirical study.“

On Friday, Nov 25, 2016, Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter presented her dissertation published by kohlhammer edition. In her research she looks for the impact of religion and religious diversity on processes of school development at schools. After her keynote there was an intense discussion going on, especially on the role and function of Religion teachers within school development.
For more information on the book please follow this link.




Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann gives post-doctoral lecture at Bayreuth University

Topic of the lecture: ‚Shifting borders between the religious and the secular field‘

02.11.2016   Contribution to the "Religion and the Public Sphere"-Blog of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
entitled: "Public presence as loss of power: Religious NGOs from Church diplomacy to civil society activism"
Author: Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann
    First Research Workshop ‚Interreligiosity‘
on the project „Vielfalt erforschen / Researching Diversity"
Presenter: Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter
Download Flyer
01.09.2016   Establishment of the Special Research Focus ‘Interreligiosity’
at the KPH Wien/Krems (in cooperation with the PH Linz)
    Publication of the Edited Volume
Einheit und Differenz in der Religionswissenschaft / Unity and
Diversity in the Academic Study of Religions
edited by Karsten Lehmann and Ansgar Jödicke
    Publication of the PhD-Thesis
Religion in der Schulentwicklung / Religion in School Development
by Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter
    Publication of the Edited Volume
Der “jüdisch-christliche” Dialog veränderte die Theologie / The impact of ‚Jewish-Christian’ Dialogue on Theology
by Edith Petschnigg and Irmtraud Fischer
    Publication of the Post-Doctoral Thesis
Religious NGOs in International Relations
by Karsten Lehmann


Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann
Business Card

Karsten Lehmann is a sociologist as well as a Religious Studies scholar. He holds degrees from Lancaster University (Master in Religious Studies), the University of Tübingen (Doctorate in Sociology), and Bayreuth University (Post-Doctoral in Religious Studies).
Curriculum Vitae

As far as his own research is concerned, Karsten Lehmann is primarily interested in religious plurality on the borders between the religious and other social fields – such as education, politics, or arts. So far, his publications are inter alia dealing with new religious movements, the religious associations of immigrants, as well as the role of religiously affiliated actors in international politics.

Further major areas of research:

• Local religious networks and networks of civil society
• Interreligious relationships / interreligious dialogue
• Religiously legitimated violence
• Religions and (international) politics
• Methods in the empirical study of religions

Prior to his professorship at the KPH Vienna/Krems, Karsten Lehmann worked as Visiting Fellow at the ‚Observatoire des Religions en Suisse’ of the Université de Lausanne / Switzerland as well as at the ‚Berkley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs’ of Georgetown University / USA. During the academic year 2012/13 he worked as Visiting Professor at the Religious Studies Chair of Prof. Dr. Oliver Krüger at the Université de Fribourg / Switzerland. After this second extensive stay in Switzerland, Karsten Lehmann became the ‘Head of Social Sciences and Statistics’ at the Research Department of the KAICIID – International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (which was closed in February 2016). Edith Petschnigg
Business Card

Edith Petschnigg is a theologian and historian and studied history, the interdisciplinary program Stage, Film, and other Media (M.A.), and Catholic Theology (M.A., Ph.D.) in Graz.
Curriculum vitae

Her primary research interest is interreligious dialogue with a focus on Jewish-Christian dialogue in Austria and Germany after 1945. Her interests extend to biblical reception, in particular in the context of war and persecution in the 20th century. Her publications deal with receptions of the Bible in Jewish exile literature and Jewish-Christian grassroots initiatives. She has also published articles addressing topics in the study of the consequences of war.

Further research and scholarly interests include:

• Feminist theology and exegesis
• Anti-Judaism in the past and present
• Research on consequences of war
• Oral history as a method in qualitative research

Edith Petschnigg began teaching at the KPH Wien/Krems at the Department of Religious Education in the area of biblical studies in winter semester 2015/16. Since September 2016 she has been working in cooperation with the Interreligious Studies special research program. Prior to her teaching and research activities at the KPH she worked as an FWF project member. In addition to being involved in various ecclesial fields of practice, including pastoral practicum, she also served as a student employee at the Department of Old Testament Studies at the University of Graz and project employee at the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for the Research on Consequences of War in Graz. Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter
Business Card

Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter is working as a Pedagogue of Religion, Coach and Trainer. She achieved her master and doctorial degree in Catholic Theology and Pedagogics of Religion via the Universities of Vienna and Lund (Sweden).
Curriculum Vitae

Her scientific expertise is Religious Diversity, School Development, School Pedagogics and School Research such as Gender and Diversity in the context of religious plurality. Her main focus is the pedagogically funded handling of diversity and the influence of diversity on pedagogically motivated action.

Further research interests are:

• Intersectionality
• Violence and Violence Prevention
• Interreligious Learning
• Ethical Learning
• Pedagogics and the Professionality of teachers

Prior to her current research and teaching position at the KPH Wien/Krems (since fall 2013) Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter was research assistant at the Institute of Practical Theology/Pedagogics of Religion at the University of Vienna as well as research assistant in various projects at the University of Vienna and the KPH Wien/Krems.

She further is a member of the trainer and coaching team (Teambuilding, Organizational Development, Conflict Management, Communication and Leadership) of the Trainerei.




The members of the Special Research Area follow a two-fold agenda: First, they want to improve understanding of the impact of processes of religious pluralisation on present-day society. Second, they want to explore to which extent concepts such as ‚interreligiosity’ or ‚interreligious competence’ help to adequately approach these processes analytically.

The concrete Research activities are shaped by three focal points:

Religious Plurality in Context

School and religion are part of culture and society. For this reason, we always analyse consequences of processes of religious pluralisation in their socio-cultural context.

Focus on Empirical Research

Most present-day debates on Interreligiosity and interreligious competence lack empirical data. Consequently, our research is based on empirical research methods – e.g. from quantitative and qualitative social research.

Research and Practice

Concepts such as ‚interreligiosity’ and ‘interreligious competence’ are markers of profound socio-cultural change. This fact is reflected in two features of our research - on the one hand, with regards to the formulation of our research questions and on the other hand, with regards to the public dissemination of our research results.


Current projects:

Investigating Diversity. Handling of (religious) Diversity in the pedagogical setting. (Project Leader: Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter)
This cooperation-project of KPH Wien/Krems, IRPA and University of Vienna investigates the denotation of religious plurality of people at a specified school in Vienna. Furthermore, the influence of these denotations on pedagogical acting and the daily living at this school are in focus. In a case study the school was analysed using qualitative empirical methods: Perspectives of teachers and other staff members were collected via guided interviews and the perspectives of pupils via explorative narratives.

In preparation:

Research Project with Students: Interreligious initiatives in Austria (Project Lead: Karsten Lehmann)
The last decade has seen the establishment of quite a number of interreligious initiatives in Austria. This project aims at mapping and presenting those initiatives in the context of the methods training at the KPH Vienna/Krems and the PH Linz. In medium term, the project wants to establish a public database of interreligious initiatives in Austria that helps practitioners to draw upon existing experiences in the field and to integrate them into their work.

The phenomenon of Shame in interreligious Learning (Project Lead: Edda Strutzenberger-Reiter)
The Discourse on recognition and respect is of vital significance for the discussions on religious plurality and diversity within the Pedagogy of Religions. This discourse is, however, necessarily flawed as long as references to recognition and respect underestimate the significance of power relations and inequalities that are part of every diverse situation. The same is true with regards to the opposite theme of ‘shame’. A slowly increasing number of more recent publications is referring to the question of shame in diverse situations (see e.g.: Marks 42013; Haas 2013). The majority of those publications is, however frequently neglecting power relations and inequalities. This is where the present project comes in. On an empicial basis, it intends to analyse the significance of ‘shame’ with regards to the power relations and inequalities within interreligious learning.

Finished projects:

The Hebrew Bible in “Jewish-Christian” Dialogue in Austria and Germany after 1945 (FWF-Project 2012–2015, University of Graz, project management: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Irmtraud Fischer, project cooperation: Edith Petschnigg)
The research project that gave rise to E. Petschnigg’s dissertation was devoted to the documentation of major lines of development of the Jewish-Christian dialogue at the grassroots level after World War II. It focussed on four pioneering dialogue initiatives: the International Jewish-Christian Bible Week (1969–2003 in Bendorf, since 2004 in Georgsmarienhütte), the Austrian Christian-Jewish Bible Week (1982–2007 in Graz), the Christian-Jewish Vacation College (1983–2012 in the diocese of Aachen), and the Christian-Jewish Summer University (since 1987 in Berlin). The four initiatives had a common basis: the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). The project researched both the history and biblical receptions of these initiatives.


Karsten Lehmann: Religiöse Sedimente im Menschenrechtsdiskurs / Religious Sediments in Human Rights-Discourse. Zur Dynamik der Konstruktionen ‚des Religiösen‘ und ‚des Säkularen‘, in: Journal of Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society 2 (2016), S. 144-160.

Edith Petschnigg: „... als brenne in meinem Herzen ein Feuer ...“ (Jer 20,9) / „… in my heart like a fire …“ (Jeremiah 20,9). Prophetische Schriften in „jüdisch-christlichen“ Basisinitiativen nach 1945 – eine exemplarische Sichtung, in: Protokolle zur Bibel 24/2 (2015) 134–155.

Karsten Lehmann / Anne Koch, Perspectives from Sociology: Modelling Religious Pluralism from Inward and Outward, in: Journal of Inter-Religious Studies 16 (2015), S. 30-40.