News and history
For the period 2023-2025, Literature & Religion Research Group has been awarded research funds from the Humanities Faculty at UiB, for 150,000 kr each year. This funding will support our 3-year plan, with the following interconnected strategic areas: Network Building, CV Building, and Grant Building.
This Humanities Faculty support also includes a post-doc position connected to the research group and based in the Institute of Foreign Languages, with administrative work for the group and teaching work for the English BA and MA program. Come back soon for a link to the job announcement.
The Literature and Religion Research Group was founded in 2015 by a group of interdisciplinary scholars at UiB/UB, many of whom are still in the current leadership committee. Since then we have held events nearly every month during every semester except for a lull during the worst of corona.
The Research Council of Norway’s HUMEVAL midler (2017-2022), awarded to our group for its strong ranking in the National Humanities Evaluation exercise, enabled a huge increase in activities, growth of our network, and increase in publications. We funded 4 guest researchers from New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Switzerland on longer stays to collaborate with our UiB group members, as well as 1 semester-long stay abroad for a UiB member. The grant covered travel for members to 12 national and international conference presentations, as well as 20 shorter local events, which directly supported at least 15 publications in ranked journals/publishers (more in progress). The networking receptions at local events have contributed enormously to a group cohesion and the strengthening of a positive research milieu, especially for early career researchers. Not least, HUMEVAL funded two major international summits/conferences, both spearheaded by UiB Prof. Erik Tonning.
First, the conference and international summit ’22 July at 10’ (August 2021) brought perspectives from the group’s research on apocalypticism in modern literature and culture into conversation with the problem of terrorist ideologies online. This three day event brought together c. 30 academics, high-level representatives from the US, UK, New Zealand and Norway civil service and government as well as from the EU and the UN, international law enforcement agencies, and representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to develop a new strategy to tackle this issue, the ‘Bergen Plan of Action’.
Second, the conference ‘Inventing the Secular: Religion and Literature from Medieval to Modern’ (April 2022) was organised in collaboration with the Scottish Network for Religion and Culture in the University of Edinburgh. Its 45 speakers included world-leading scholars (with keynotes from the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick in the UK, and Rutgers University in the USA), as well as younger scholars. Of the 7 scholars from the University of Bergen presenting, 4 were MA or PhD-level, one postdoctoral level, one Associate Professor, and one a Professor. The conference also attracted participants from the Universities of Oslo and Agder.
The group has also benefited from the close association of UiB Prof. Laura Saetveit Miles’ NFR Young Research Talents grant project, “The Circulation and Influence of St. Birgitta of Sweden’s Revelations in Medieval England” (2019-2023, extended to 2026). Through this project, a 4-yr PhD, a 2-yr post-doc, a 1-year visiting Fulbright PhD, a 6-month guest researcher, and an 18-month researcher have participated in Literature & Religion Research Group events. We look forward to sharing the synergy of a vibrant research milieu with other large funded projects in the future.