Meeting at MF CASR

Research Groups

The research activities at MF are organised in thematic research groups. 

These research groups develop and implement research projects, and seek external funding for such projects. The aim is to promote research of high quality, develop and implement research projects, academic publications and research communication.

The research groups have one leader. The members of the research groups are academic staff members in full or part time positions, including PhD students and post docs. Academic staff members at MF are normally members of one or more of these research groups. The research groups may also have members from other institutions.

Children, Youth and Religion

Members of this cross-disciplinary and empirically oriented research group are involved in a number of ongoing studies of – and also involving – children and youth, including research on Christian education. Our projects apply a diverse set of methodological and theoretical approaches and contribute new knowledge to the fields of psychology of religion and pastoral care; youth ministry studies; homiletics; religious education; ethnographically oriented ecclesiology; and practical theology.
The group is a meeting point and forum for research on and/or involving children and youth in religious contexts, or projects where religion is part of the research interest. In addition to colleagues at MF, the group includes members from IKO Church Educational Centre and Uppsala university.


Tone Stangeland Kaufman

Astrid Sandsmark
Elisa Stokka
Lars Johan Danbolt
Erling Birkedal
Sverre Dag Mogstad
Heid Leganger-Krogstad
Kristin Graff-Kallevåg
Linn Sæbø Rystad
Fredrik Saxegaard
Ingunn Aadland (IKO)
Karin Rubenson (Uppsala universitet, guest researcher at MF Autumn 2019)

Critical Islamic Studies - Research Group and (Online) Consortium

The research group functions as an academic research unit at MF on Islamic intellectual history and ethics generally, and on Islamic environmental and economic thought more specifically. The aim is to expand and deepen both historical and modern research on pertinent topics in the field.  It is devised as a platform for current research on Islamic studies at MF and more broadly in Oslo, as well as to seek external funding opportunities. 

Part of the initiative is also the online consortium (webinars) “Critical Islamic Studies Lecture Series” (dates TBA) hosted by the group leader. The consortium discusses book projects and new research by international scholars in the fields of Islamic, Middle East and/or South (East) Asia Studies. The webinars are interdisciplinary in nature, they are meant to facilitate critical discussions and are open to the public. The target audiences are scholars in and students of Islamic studies, but the discussions will also be of interest to scholars and students interested in Religious Studies and Area Studies. 

Webinars will be open to the public and require Zoom registration.

Sami Al-Daghistani (MF/Columbia University/BISR)

Members af MF:
Christian Bull (MF)
Hege Cathrine Finholt (MF)
Matthew Phillip Monger (MF)
Amund Bjorsnes (PHI)

External members:
Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi (University of Oslo)
Safet Bektovic (University of Oslo)
Nora Sunniva Eggen (University of Oslo)
Rajbir Judge (University of California, Long Beach) 
Mahmood Kooria (Leiden/Ashoka University)
Joakim Parslow (Oslo,independent researcher)
Amina Selimović (University of Oslo)
Knut Vikør (University of Bergen)
Erik Hovden (University of Bergen)
Monika Lindbekk (University of Bergen)
Erik Skare (CERI, Sciences Po)

Gender and Religion

Gender is a key category for many religious actors, ideas, practices and institutions. Views on gender roles, family issues, sexuality and reproduction may have great impact on people’s lives as well as how communities- small and big- are organized. Gender is thus a crucial component in the academic study of religion. Church history, theology, philosophy and religious studies approach these questions from different angles, and the inter-disciplinarity of this research group reflect a broad research agenda.

Gina Lende

Daniela Lucia Rapisarda
Gunhild Maria Hugdal
Liv Ingeborg Lied
Jan-Olav Henriksen
Kristin Graff-Kallevåg
Marion Grau
Hilde Marie Movafagh
Kristin Joachimsen
Linn Sæbø Rystad
Kristin Norseth
Tone Stangeland Kaufman
Eivor Oftestad


Homiletics is the study of the art of preaching or making sermons. For decades the rhetorical turn has influenced the academic field of Homiletics. In recent years a number of studies have given special attention to the analysis of the listeners and their experiences of preaching. This is a field of expertise among the members of our research group, and we consider the contributions of such empirical homiletics to be very valuable for the field. For the coming years the group is planning empirical studies of «Changes in practices of death in Northern Europe (DIE)», with a focus on rhetorical, ritual and other related aspects.

The group also will be a place to discuss papers when colleagues develop individual projects. Such studies might be empirical or may analyse questions concerning normativity, theology and experience, hermeneutics and text application, with reference to homiletics.

The group will be central in planning of The Nordic Homiletical Conference in 2021.

Inge Westly

Tone Stangeland Kaufman 
Linn Sæbø Rystad 
Fredrik Saxegaard 
Per Kristian Hovden Sætre 
Knut Tveitereid 

Hymnology and hymnbook history

This research group has developed in response to MF’s newly acquired Ellingsen collection. Svein Ellingsen was one of Norway’s most revered hymn writers and his private collection of books and writings is now housed at MF in Oslo. The research group will strive to make the Ellingsen collection available for research, and initiate research activities taking the collection itself as a point of departure.

In addition, the group will pursue topics such as contemporary Norwegian hymnbooks, the renewal within Norwegian and Nordic hymnology post WWII, both in terms of lyrics and music. The Hymnology research group will also serve as an arena for the development of research projects on topics related to hymnbook history, theology in hymns, and the meeting points between theology and creativity.

Per Kristian Aschim

Ingerid Louise Birkeland
Otfried Czaika
Harald Hegstad
Carl Petter Opsahl

Migration, Minorities and Marginalisation

The group focuses its research on two marginalised groups of migrants: refugees and poor EU citizens. Particular attention is given to unaccompanied minors, undocumented migrants and Roma.

The research group facilitates and carries out research in the fields of diaconia and social work. Our aim is not only to attain new knowledge, but also to consciously monitor how research may create change. Critical perspectives on research, power and participation are central to our projects. Consequently, we seek to apply and develop methods that are in themselves diaconal, i.e. forms of action research and 'tripartite' research where researchers, practitioners and participants are included as equal partners in the research process.

The research group was established in close cooperation with the Church City Mission in Oslo.

Sturla J. Stålsett.

Members and associates:
Tron Fagermoen
Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen
Astrid Sandsmark
Marion Grau
Leni Mjåland
Daniela Rapisarda
Carl Petter Opsahl
Roar Fotland
Asle Eikrem
Ann Midttun
Arnhild Taksdal, leder av Fagutviklingsenheten SKBO, kriminolog
Per Kristian Hilden, forsker II ved Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter om vold og traumatisk stress, og førsteamanuensis ved Universitetet i Oslo.
Marit Nybø, avdelingsleder, Fattige tilreisende, SKBO

MOVE – Theorizing the movement of ideas and artefacts across time and space

MOVE explores the circulations and transformations of texts, images, concepts and material objects across time and space, and aims to facilitate theoretical literacy and innovation. The group represents a broad range of humanistic disciplines, and invites interchange among junior and senior faculty at MF and its associated partners, including scholars from the University of Oslo, the National Library of Norway, and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research.

Find more about MOVE here.

Kristin B. Aavitsland
Liv Ingeborg Lied

Members (from MF):
Line M. Bonde
Otfried Czaika
Iselin Frydenlund
Kristin Joachimsen
John W. Kaufman
Matthew P. Monger
Laura Marie Mork
Eivor Andersen Oftestad
Jesse Ophoff
Steinar Skarpenes
Per Kristian Hovden Sætre

The group also includes external members. See MOVE's pages.

PERSIAS - Perceptions and Receptions of Persia

PERSIAS is a research group established in 2018 by the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament section at MF. PERSIAS explores various perceptions and receptions of the Achaemenid Empire/Persia in the Hebrew Bible and other Judean material from Judah, Babylon and Egypt, dated to Persian times and onwards. PERSIAS aims at stimulating multidisciplinary discussions on theoretical and methodical perspectives related to examinations of the many ways in which ideas of “Persia” have been transmitted, interpreted, adapted and used.

Kristin Joachimsen

Gard Granerød
Matthew Monger

Religion and Sport

The research group “Religion and Sports” aims at nourishing and promoting research on religion as it occurs in sport arenas. By studying the interconnections between sports and religion, we seek a deeper understanding of how these dimensions of society influence on people’s political, cultural and personal lives. 

Kristin Graff-Kallevåg

Svein Olaf Thorbjørnsen
Gina Lende
Vegard Holm

Sacred Values: Theology and the Crisis of Political Legitimacy

This research group works on the theological and religious aspects of the role of values in political life, as well as their relation to the construction of political legitimacy. The group takes an interdisciplinary approach, in keeping with recent movements within philosophy, theology, and political theory that challenge traditional dichotomies between the political and the theological.

Ragnar Misje Bergem

Andreas Holmedahl Hvidsten
Asle Eikrem

Self: Ancient Self-Perceptions in Comparative Perspective

This research group is oriented towards an ongoing debate, having to do with the question of whether and to what degree ancient people had what may be referred to as a “self-perception,” and whether and how this is reflected in ancient texts. We seek to explore early ‘Christian’ texts in light of this debate, and to compare them with Jewish and Greco-Roman sources from the same time.

Ole Jakob Filtvedt

Karl Olav Sandnes 
Reidar Hvalvik
Hanne Birgitte Sødal Tveito 
John Kaufman
Wally Cirafesi
Glenn Wehus
Merete Hodt (NLA)


The increasingly rapid development of artificial intelligence activates a series of ethical problems, including some which may be unique in history. Autonomous weapons, self-driving cars, robots more intelligent than humans, superfluous workers, and massive body engineering, are some of the relevant problems. The research group will work on developing an ethical theoretical framework for central problems connected to artificial intelligence.

Atle O. Søvik, Professor of systematic theology with metaethics and philosophy of mind as research area.

Einar Duenger Bøhn, Professor of philosophy (UiA). Researcher for Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) with a project on artificial morality.
Andreas Brekke Carlsson, PhD (UiO) on philosophy of responsibility and secretary of the Norwegian Council for Defense Ethics (with autonomous weapons as one area of research).
Maria Ledstam, PhD-student (MF) on ethics of work.
Magnus Rønning, PhD-student (UiA) with project on conditions for understanding machines as agents.
Leonora Onarheim Bergsjø, førsteamanuensis TF (UiO), researcher on artificial intelligence and ethics.

UV - Education and Values

The interdisciplinary research group Education and values (Utdanning og verdier - UV) works with different projects connected to professional ethics and values in school, kindergarten and higher education. This is highly relevant in a time of an increased focus on how values are secured in school, combined with a high level of accountability politics and testing. The research group is empirically oriented and work with ethics and values as aspects of social practices in education. This is different from the dominating traditional individualistic and cognitive understandings in both philosophical and psychological research on the field. The research group will provide new knowledge about the education field and values. 

Trine Anker
Janicke Heldal Stray

Geir Afdal
Claudia Lenz
Lars Laird Iversen
Ann Midttun
Marielle Stigum Gleiss
Solvor Lauritzen
Henrik Nykvist
Lina Snoek
Emil Sætra