Dr Daan Beekers

IASH-Alwaleed Research Fellow

IASH-Alwaleed Research Fellow, July - December 2020


Project: Diversity, Heritage, and Belonging: Spaces of Religious Entanglement in Scotland

My research focuses on religion, diversity and heritage in Europe, with a focus on Christianity and Islam. I obtained a PhD in Anthropology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (2015) based on an ethnographic study of religious commitment among young, revivalist-oriented Protestant Christians and Sunni Muslims in the Netherlands. Subsequently, I conducted postdoctoral research at Utrecht University, studying the abandonment and repurposing of church buildings in the Netherlands. In 2018 I moved to Edinburgh to join the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities as a postdoctoral research fellow (October 2018-July 2019), followed by a visiting fellowship at the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World (August 2019-June 2020).

My monograph Young Muslims and Christians in a Secular Europe: Pursuing Religious Commitment in the Netherlands is forthcoming with Bloomsbury. Other publications include the co-edited volume Straying from the Straight Path: How Senses of Failure Invigorate Lived Religion (Berghahn, 2018) and the (open access) special section ‘Bridging Divisions in the Anthropology of Religion: Comparing Muslims and Christians in Shared Social Contexts’ in Social Analysis (2020). I have also participated in the production of the (digital) exhibition The Urban Sacred. For a full list and access to my publications please see my Academia page.

My current project at IASH engages European debates about Islam on the one hand and Christian heritage on the other. It focuses on developing ethnographic research in Scotland on spaces of material heritage that shape and mediate interactions between Muslim communities and Christian (or, in some cases, ‘post-Christian’) ones. Potential case-studies include urban church buildings that have been repurposed as mosques and the new small mosque on the heritage-rich, predominantly Christian Isle of Lewis.