Research strategy 2020-2023 at Faculty of Theology
The Faculty of Theology aims with its Research Strategy 2020–2023 at supporting research by individual members of the academic staff, by the Sections and by the Faculty as a whole. It aims at inspiring and promoting the ongoing development of high-quality research in the subject areas covered by the Faculty.
Research Strategy 2020–2023 reflects the Faculty’s Goals and Action Plan that in turn reflects the University of Copenhagen’s Strategy 2023: Talent and collaboration.
The Research Strategy 2020–2023 was drawn up by the Dean, the Head of the Research Committee and the Heads of Sections. The latter are responsible for the strategies of the individual Sections, while the Dean has overall responsibility for the Faculty’s research strategy and its follow-up.
The Research Committee and the Academic Council have discussed and approved the Research Strategy 2020–2023.
Faculty of Theology
The Faculty of Theology conducts research into Theology and African Studies.
Theology research provides both the general public and academics with an enlightened, critical and creative basis for reflection on fundamental and topical questions concerning religion, existence and ethics. It covers biblical texts and their complex interpretation and reception history. Additionally it covers other texts, traditions and institutions that have had an important influence on the understanding of people, society and nature in both different historical contexts and today.
African Studies research relates to Africa’s diverse stories, complex realities, challenges and opportunities, including in a global context. It aims at thinking the world through an African lens, developing theory and providing knowledge of conditions in Africa and input for debates and shaping opinion.
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The Faculty of Theology conducts research at the highest international level. Its commitment to academic freedom implies that the Faculty’s researchers are able to choose their topics, methodologies and channels of publication. Most of the research conducted at the Faculty consists of fundamental research but some projects are designed to solve specific problems.
The Faculty’s researchers employ a variety of methods and theories. Historical, philological, philosophical, hermeneutical, phenomenological and ethnographical methods and theories reflect the fields’ affinity with humanities’ research. The empirical and sociological methods and theories also have a great deal in common with those deployed in the humanities and, in particular, the social sciences.
The research is often conducted in collaborations that extend beyond the Faculty, usually with individuals, groups and institutions within academia, but also non-academic professionals, institutions and organisations. The research is both subject-specific (based on sources, information, methods, concepts and theories relating to a single subject developed and cultivated by the research) and interdisciplinary (drawing on sources, information, methods, concepts and theories from several disciplines, in order to acquire new knowledge or solve new problems). The research is carried out both individually and collectively.
In most cases, the research is published in English (or another foreign language). However, some of the Faculty’s publications and communications are also in Danish, which helps to maintain and develop the status of Danish as language of education and academic discourse.
The research of the Faculty provides the foundation for research-based education in the study programmes in Theology (BA and MA), Religious Roots of Europe (MA) and African Studies (MA). The research and study programmes are as integrated as possible. The Faculty also offers PhD programme within its subject areas. The PhD programme is part of the Faculty’s overall research efforts and plays an important part in developing research.
Research at the Faculty of Theology is rooted in the theological subject areas – Biblical Studies incl. Qur’anic Studies, Church History, and Systematic Theology – and looks into, across and beyond these topics. The Faculty also conducts interdisciplinary research in African Studies.
During the strategy period 2020–2023, research by academic staff at the Faculty of Theology will include the following fields:
Biblical Studies, incl. Qur’anic Studies
- End time studies
- Migration, exile and diaspora
- Ancient languages and translations
Church History incl. History of Theology
- Ancient Church and late Antiquity: Sociality, space, movement and mediality
- High and Late Middle Ages: Theology and philosophy, academic and religious culture, holy wars
- Early modern times: Theology and philosophy, historiography, art, music and architecture, psychiatry and judicial systems
- 19th and 20th century: Globality and national identity, secularism, cultural heritage, gender and history of reception of the Reformation
- Existence, self-understanding and lifestyle
- Ethics, normativity and ambivalence
- Epistemology, truth and rationality
- Religion, religions and spirituality
- Christianity, church and communication
- Sovereignty and citizenship
- Religion and change
- Environment and sustainability
Research in the different fields involves various stages – from the development of project ideas to the publication of results and other forms of dissemination.
Descriptions of the research fields and their objectives, as well as specific research projects, are published on the homepage of, respectively:
The Sections regularly evaluate their research and report to the Dean on an annual basis.
During the strategy period, the Faculty will introduce a range of other measures to support its research. These will include:
- Attracting, developing and retaining highly qualified researchers
- Developing the research environment and organisation with a view to hosting research seminars and encouraging collaboration between the Sections
- Ensuring international academic impact through the publication strategy The Faculty of Theology’s Academic Publications: Principles and Objectives and increasing the number of Open Access publications
- Improving the output of international research collaborations
- Greater participation in national research collaboration, including collaboration at the University of Copenhagen
- Developing research areas by attracting external funding from both new and known sources
- Developing research funding and project development, e.g. through seed money
- Providing researchers with easier access to large volumes of data and supporting research activities concerning the social and cultural aspects of digitalisation
- Boosting the profile and direction of research dissemination, including its impact on society and contact with sectors of society and stakeholders, e.g. through Open Science/Citizen Science.