Associate Professor

Jens Kreinath

(316) 978-7193

2006, Dr. Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Heidelberg, summa cum laude

Area of Study/Interest

Religious Minorities and Cultural Dynamics in Turkey and the Middle East; Syncretism, Hybridity, and the Dynamics of Interreligious Contact; Aesthetics of Religion and Semiotics of Ritual; Method and Theory in the Study of Religion; Concept Formation in Study Ritual; Reflexivity in Ethnographic Fieldwork; Ritual Theory; Anthropology of Islam; Visual Anthropology.


Dr. Kreinath received training in theory and methodology related to the study of religion, ritual, and culture. Besides holding degrees in Theology and History of Religion as well as in Philosophy—all received from the University of Heidelberg—he received 2006 his doctoral degree in social/cultural anthropology form the same university. As a member of a research group on ritual theory and the history of religions, he carried out research in 2000 on the Yasna, a daily performed ritual of Zoroastrian high-priests. Together with Refika Sariönder, he conducted 2002 fieldwork in Istanbul among the Alevi on the reflexive dynamics of the cem, a weekly observed community ritual. Since 2010, he studies the coexistence of religious minorities in Turkey and more specifically on the local and global dynamics of inter-religious relations in Hatay, the southernmost province of Turkey. His current research is primarily on Christian and Muslim communities in Antakya (formerly Antioch). He is member of an international research collaboration, “Reassembling Democracy: Ritual as Cultural Resource,” funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The aim of his research is to inquire the impact of the interreligious Antakya Choir of Civilizations on transforming the interaction of the local religious communities and to analyze the internal dynamic of this interreligious choir. Besides, he was in 2014-2015 visiting scholar in the research group “Local Dynamics of Globalization in the Premodern Levant,” funded by the Centre of Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which allowed him to further his studies of local infrastructure of pilgrimage sites in the northern Levant in a more historical perspective.

Selected Publications

• 2015 “The Seductiveness of Saints: Interreligious Pilgrimage Sites in Hatay and the Ritual Transformations of Agency,” in: Michael A. Di Giovine and David Picard (eds): The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition. Farnham: Ashgate.
• 2014 “Virtual Encounters with Hizir and Other Muslim Saints: Dreaming and Healing at Local Pilgrimage Sites in Hatay, Turkey,” in: Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia: 2 (1), pp. 25–66.
• 2012 “Discursive Formation, Ethnographic Encounter, Photographic Evidence: The Centenary of Durkheim’s Basic Forms of Religious Life and the Anthropological Study of Australian Aboriginal Religion in His Time,” in: Visual Anthropology 25 (5), pp. 367–420.
• 2012 “Naven, Moebius Strip, and Random Fractal Dynamics: Reframing Bateson’s Play Frame and the Use of Mathematical Models for the Study of Ritual,” in: Journal of Ritual Studies: 26 (2), pp. 39–64.
• 2012 Anthropology of Islam Reader, New York: Routledge – Taylor & Francis Group
• 2009 “Virtuality and Mimesis: Toward an Aesthetics of Ritual Performances as Embodied Forms of Religious Practice,” in: Bent Holm, Bent Flemming Nielsen, and Karen Vedel (eds): Religion – Ritual – Theatre. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 219–249.
• 2009 “Headscarf Discourses and the Contestation of Secularism in Turkey,” in: The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin: 38 (4), pp. 77–84.
• 2006 “Semiotics,” in: Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, and Michael Stausberg (eds): Theorizing Rituals: Vol I: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts (Numen Book Series: Studies in the History of Religion 114-1). Leiden: Brill, pp. 429–470.