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Åke Sander

Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and
Religion
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
E317
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Åke Sander

Åke Sander is professor of behavioral studies of religion. He received his BA in 1976 and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Gothenburg University in 1988. He has worked as lecturer in philosophy, director for the Centre for the Study of Cultural Contact and International Migration and senior lecturer in systematic theology. Throughout human history religion and religiosity have influenced the way individuals, groups, nations and even whole cultures have viewed themselves and their place and role in the world; thus these phenomena have borne importantly on the actions and conduct of human beings, not least in circumstances of migration and cultural and religious contact. Indeed the last several decades have witnessed a dramatic rise in the importance of religion and religiosity within these contexts, largely due to processes of post-modernization and globalization. While the Islamic upsurge (and various occurrence involving Islam and Muslims) is perhaps the most visible example in this regard, it by no means stands alone. Over the years, the defining feature of Åke Sander’s research has been the attempt to know and understand the phenomena of religion and religiosity and their influence on people’s ways of experiencing, thinking, feeling and acting. He has been particularly interested in the processes of change that occur when different religious traditions meet and confront one another as well as those that occur when a religious tradition’s cultural, social, economic and technical context is altered as a result of modernization and globalization. Within this framework, his primary focus has been on the last thirty years of encounter between Islam/Muslims and Europe/Sweden, and the influence this has had on the way that Muslim understand Islam and what it means to be a Muslim and that European’s understand Islam, Muslims and, as a result, themselves. Most recently professor Sander’s interests have turned more towards the Indic religious traditions, specifically in terms of their dissemination and reception in the West as well as their development and internal relations in India. In this connection he has entered into cooperation agreements and joint projects with Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi and Jadavpur University in Kolkata; he has also developed field study courses and organized trips to India for LIR students. As might be expected, Professor Sander’s research also has involved questions regarding immigration and immigrants/ refugees, integration and integration politics, cultural contact and multiculturality, as well as those concerning discrimination, racism and Islamophobia. This latter research has been primarily conducted within the framework of projects such as:

  • Invandrade muslimers möte med Svenska samhället
  • Combating Discrimination Against Migrant Workers and Ethnic Minorities in the World of Working
  • Tillvaratagande av invandrade akademikers kompetens
  • Studier av strategier för hantering av relationerna mellan minoritetsgrupper och majoritetssamhället, Bosnier i Göteborg – En longitudinell studie
  • State Polices Towards Muslim Minorities in the EU
  • Comparative Analysis of the Situation of Muslim Communities in the EU – Manifestations of Islamophobia and Measuring Discrimination Against Immigrant Workers in Access to Employment.  

In addition to his interest in empirically oriented research, Professor Sander has throughout his career displayed a keen interest in the theoretically oriented study of such matters as the workings and potentialities of the human mind (especially in relation to so-called alternative states of mind), the phenomenology of religion (which focuses on such phenomena as religious experience, religious consciousness, mysticism, theory of meditation), the nature of religious change in a late-modern globalized world, and the cultural-hermeneutical challenges that arise when attempting to understand and communicate with persons whose culture, religion and interpretive patterns differ from one’s own. Professor Sander has also spent a considerable amount of time lecturing, educating and sharing his expertise in numerous non-academic forums as a means of disseminating relevant research findings to society-at-large — the so-called third task of a university.