Professors and Associate Professors – University of Copenhagen

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Heiko Henkel

Heiko Henkel

Associate Professor / Head of Studies

I am currently working on a larger research project that combines a focus on 'Religious Citizens' in Denmark with a comparative perspective on Religious Citizens in Spain, Turkey, and across Europe. (see below). My current research interest has grown out of longstanding interest in contemporary European society, its historical formation, and the social and political trends that shape its future.

Since the late 1990s my research has focused on the Turkish Islamic tradition in contemporary Turkey and Germany. I am interested in the social conditions that shape interpretations of the Islamic tradition by Muslim practitioners as well as by non-Muslims. A central theme in my research is the repertoire of institutions and disciplines that practicing Muslims employ to shape their lifeworlds as Muslim lifeworlds and themselves as pious Muslims. Further research interests include: Northern European social history; current transformations of Western European and Turkish society and identity; the anthropology of ritual and literacy; governmentality and subject formation; concepts of security and the good life; Western development interventions, the didactics of teaching anthropology and history.

Before coming to Copenhagen I taught at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Williams College (Mass.).

Regional specialisation: Denmark, Germany, Europe, Turkey, the Muslim world

Thematic specialisation: Islamic traditions in Turkey, Denmark, and across Europe; Religious Citizens and nation state in Denmark and across Europe; Struggles for recognition: conflict and integration.

Member of the researcher groups: Conflict, Power and Politics, and Religion and Subjectivity.

Islam, Protestantism, Religion and Secularism, Ritual and ritualization, practice theory, the anthropology of politics, literacy, moral traditions and social movements, western/northern European social history and history of ideas, European integration, History of Anthropology.

Current research

Currently most of my research is related to a research project called

Religious Citizens: Religious affect and varieties of European secularity in Denmark, Spain, and Turkey

(Danish Research Council, Project ID: DFF – 1319-00147)

Together with Anders Berg-Sørensen (Political Science, KU) and the PhD fellows Astrid Grue and Ida Hartmann (Anthropology, KU) I explore the continuities and variations of the secular embeddedness of dominant religious traditions across Europe. We focus on three national case studies  (Protestants in Denmark, Catholics in Spain, Sunni Muslims in Turkey) as well as a pan-European study on the intersection of dominant religious traditions with the nation state and civil societ.

Please see our project website

I am also working on a book project tentatively entitled ‘Contesting Danish Civility’ that is concerned with current and historical struggles for recognition in Denmark over what is seen as being properly Danish – and thus as the defining the legitimate ground on which citizens can formulate and contest conflicting demands for recognition.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Turkish Islam in Germany: A Problematic Tradition or the Fifth Project of Constitutional Patriotism?

    Henkel, H. 2008 In : Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. 28, 1, p. 113-123

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  2. Published

    One foot rooted in Islam, the other foot circling the world: Tradition and engagement in a Turkish Sufi cemaat

    Henkel, H. 2009 Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community. Raudvere, C. & Stenberg, L. (eds.). London: I.B. Tauris, p. 103-116 14 p.

    Research output: ResearchBook chapter

  3. Published

    Denmark: The Islamic threat in Europe – who is afraid of what

    Henkel, H. Feb 2013 Islamist Movements of Europe . Peter, F. (ed.). London: I.B. Tauris, 6 p. 68

    Research output: ResearchBook chapter

  4. Published

    Public Anthropology 353 The Political Anthropology of Scandinavia after July 22, 2011

    Henkel, H. Jun 2012 In : American Anthropologist. 114, 2, p. 353-355 3 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewComment/debate

  5. Published

    Fundamentally Danish?

    Henkel, H. 2010 In : Human Architecture. 8, 2, p. 67-82 15 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  6. Published

    Religiöse Praxis und republikanische Staatsbürgerschaft: Das Gebet als ritueller Anker in der islamischen Tradition

    Henkel, H. 2012 Die Sunna leben: Zur Dynamik islamischer Religionspraxis in Deutschland. Schrode, P. & Simon, U. (eds.). Ergon Verlag, p. 49-65 17 p. (MUSLIMISCHE WELTEN).

    Research output: ResearchBook chapter

  7. Published

    The Location of Islam: Inhabiting Istanbul in a Muslim way

    Henkel, H. 2007 In : American Ethnologist. 34, 1, p. 57-70 13 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  8. Published

    Between Belief and Unbelief lies the Performance of Salat.: Meaning and Efficacy of a Muslim Ritual

    Henkel, H. 2005 In : Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 11, 3, p. 487-507 20 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  9. Published

    Converging Religion, Diverging Affect: A Review of Esra Özyürek's Being German, Becoming Muslim

    Henkel, H. Jun 2015

    Research output: ResearchNet publication - Internet publication

  10. Published

    Nydanskere skubbes ud af dialogen om Danmarks fremtid

    Henkel, H. 7 Mar 2013 In : Opinionen.

    Research output: CommunicationContribution to newspaper - Feature article

  11. Published

    Contesting Danish Civility: The Cartoon Crisis as Transitional Drama

    Henkel, H. 2011 The question of integration: Immigration, exclusion and the Danish welfare state. Olwig, K. F. & Paerregaard, K. (eds.). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 129-149 21 p.

    Research output: ResearchBook chapter

Selected activities

  1. At the edges of civility: Halal as a double wedge issue

    Henkel, H. (Lecturer)
    19 May 2015

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

  2. Bounded Knowledge of Cultural Schemes: A Danish Rejoinder

    Henkel, H. (Lecturer)
    20 Nov 2015

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

  3. Protestant secularism and the limits of Danish civility

    Henkel, H. (Lecturer)
    21 Apr 2015

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

  4. Religious citizens in Spain - Opus Dei

    Henkel, H. (Participant)
    29 Sep 20153 Oct 2015

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  5. Religious Citizens Workshop

    Henkel, H. (Organizer)
    20 Aug 201422 Aug 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation of and participation in conference

  6. Charity, Philanthropy and development

    Henkel, H. (Speaker)
    18 May 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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