HS-Prof. Dr. habil. Karsten Lehmann
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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 areas of major 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). Besides his position with the KPH, Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann is also working as a Senior Research Fellow at one of the Chairs for Religious Studies at Vienna University as well as a member of the Research Center ‘Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society’ .


Alexandra Katzian, B.A. M.A. - at the moment on leave
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Alexandra Katzian is a scholar of Religious Studies and a PhD candidate at the University of Salzburg. After completing her bachelor's degree in Political Science, with a major in sociology, she went for a Masters degree in Religious Studies. Starting July 2018 Alexandra Katzian is working on her Doctorate Thesis in Philosophy of Religious Studies. Her head advisor is Prof. Dr. Anton Bucher  and  Assoz. Prof. Dr. Minas Dimitriou  is her second advisor. The topic of her thesis centers around religious aspects found in today's soccer fan cultures.

Her main research focus lies on popular religion, plurality and daily life between different religious groups and the big question regarding the motivation of peoples actions when interacting with one another. Another big interest of her, stemming from her background in the tourism industry, is correlations between tourism and religion such as religious or spiritual traveling.

Further areas of major research:

  • new religious movements
  • Rituals
  • fan culture from a religious aspect
  • Sports and Religion
  • Religion and Law, Legal System, Human Rights


Gernot Sanfel
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Gernot Galib Stanfel is music therapist and teacher for music and creative shape.

As a musician he was dealing with art from Islamic shaped cultures. Out of this he started to become interested in the historical influence of the Islam to the Austrian culture and documented it systematically. In 2008 Stanfel awoke the remembrance of the Vienna born founder of the Red Crescent, Dr. Abdullah Karl Hammerschmidt. In 2012 he curated the traveling exhibition “Ostarrichislam” in occasion of 100 year existence of the Austrian Islam law. It was shown amongst others at the universities Innsbruck, Salzburg, Graz, Osnabrück and at the Islamic Art Museum in Kuala Lumpur.

Since 2007 Stanfel teaches at the Studiengang für das Lehramt Islamische Religion für Pflichtschulen IRPA, which is located since  2015 as the Insitute for Islamic Religion at the KPH Wien / Krems. He is leading the working group for interreligious dialog of the institute. From 2011 – 2020 Stanfel was culture advisor of the Islamic religious community in the province Lower Austria of the IGGÖ.

Further areas of major research:

  • Inclusion / Special Education in the Islamic teaching
  • Pedagogic Practice
  • Music in pedagogic application

As far as the work at the SIR - Special Research Focus 'Interreligiosity' is concerned, Gernot Stanfel contributes to the exhibition 'Religious Plurality within Viennese Schools during the Interwar Period'.



Former colleagues

Dr. Adem Aygün

Adem Aygün is a Muslim educator who comes from an Islamic Studies-, Theology- and Educational Studies background. He holds degrees from the University of Sakarya (Master in Philosophy and Religious Studies) and the University of Bielefeld (Doctorate in Religious Education).

His research interest focuses on religious socialization and faith development of Muslim adolescents in cultural comparison. He is also interested in Islamic theological studies and their implementation at school as well as in the Islamic community - especially in the European context. So far, his publications are inter alia dealing with the learning and teaching of Islam within modern Muslim majority and minority contexts.

Further major areas of research: 

  •     Islamic Empirical and Practical Theology
  •     Textbook development
  •     Interreligious learning and dialogue 
  •     Psychology of Religion

Prior to teaching and research at the Institute for Research and Development KPH Dr Aygün worked as a research associate at the Justus Liebig University Gießen (from 2011 to 2017). In the academic year 2017-18 he was director of the Institute for Islamic Religion KPH Vienna / Krems.


Dr.in Edith Petschnigg

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.  

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.