The research group has an interdisciplinary focus on a wide range of topics related to religion, worldviews, ethics and philosophy in school, kindergarten and society.


The members of our research group come from a range of different academic traditions and represent a diversity of perspectives on topics related to religious and moral education in schools and early childhood education, as well as religion, worldviews and philosophy in society. Interdisciplinarity and diversity of perspectives is our strength. We do research on the didactics of religious education, religious pluralism and cultural diversity among children and young people, on how kindergarten kids talk about faith, on using art and excursions as didactic resources, pedagogical practices to explore existential questions, promote life skills and psychological wellbeing, religious and spiritual experiences, as well as theological, epistemological and philosophical issues.

Areas of research

Signe Aarvik’s main object of research has been religious discourses and practices among young (non-organized) Muslims in contemporary Norway. Another research interest is how religions are represented in Norwegian schools and how the subject of KRLE can increase religious literacy in the population and facilitate fruitful dialogues across religious and non-religious worldviews.

Sigurd Hareide researches the changes in Christian rituals from Catholic to Lutheran practices in Denmark-Norway in the 16th century/Reformation period. He takes part in public discussions on the Norwegian religious education subject, on Christian worship during school hours, and on the history of religion subject in school. He is part of the early childhood education project «Religion and excursion» and has broad experience on using excursions in teacher education for kindergarten and primary school. He is also interested in the development of local knowledge in Religious Education for kindergartens and schools in Vestfold and Drammen.

Lina Snoek Hauan holds a master’s degree in the study of religion and has worked as a teacher in Religion education (RE) in the secondary and upper secondary school for many years. In her PhD study in the didactics of religion she focuses on how understandings of religion are created in the RE classroom in the upper secondary school.

Tyson Herberger

Ina Marie Lunde Ilkama‘s research interests include goddess traditions of Hinduism, mythology and ritual, and the interaction between religious texts and practice. Within the field of didactics of religion, she is interested in how eastern religions are being taught in schools and preschools in Norway.

Ragnhild Laird Iversen is a PhD fellow who researches religion in kindergarten. She teaches in early childhood education and teacher education and has co-authored textbooks. She runs the website www.religionsundervisning.no

Kari Krogstad’s research interests include how policy documents, national curriculum and curricula guidelines influence Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions and Early Childhood Teacher Education (ECTE), and perceptions and practice of religion in ECECs. In her current research project, she observes religious education for second grade pupils in a primary school. She employs a mixed methods approach in most of her research projects.

Halvor Kvandal is educated as a philosopher and focuses on the relationship between the empirical and the normative in the study of religion. Much of Kvandal's work deals with "the Cognitive Science of Religion", a field that combines evolutionary theory, cognition research and anthropology. Kvandal is also interested in the relationship between religion and science, epistemology, and religious beliefs and practices in childhood.

Ole Jakob Løland is particularly interested in the role of religion in contemporary politics and the reception of ancient biblical texts in modern contexts. 

Gunnfrid Ljones Øierud’s research interest are religious education, multimodality and religious communicative practices like rituals and preaching. She currently conducts research on field trips to faith communities as part of the Norwegian RE subject and on ritual development and ritual communication. 

Kristoffer Løkken Økland’s research interests are within the fields of religion and youth, religion didactics, religion and prejudice, and religion and emotions. He is studying what it is like to be a young, Norwegian Jew today, their experiences of encountering prejudice and antisemitism, and how young Jews challenge and negotiate notions of Jews in everyday conversations and in religious education. 

Milosz Puczydlowski’s research interests include philosophy of religion and Christian theology. He has researched various theories of secularization of philosophical, theological and sociological origin. With a starting point in a secularization debate he is interested in “a postsecular turn” within philosophy and theology.

Mira Cataya Rodriguez is a PhD fellow who works on a project on pedagogical practices to enhance life skills and develop intercultural understanding in religious education. She focuses on diversity, exploring existential questions, and psychological perspectives.

Kristine Toft Rosland’s research interests are didactics of religion and diversity in early Christianity. Her didactic research is on religion in kindergarten. She is also interested in how authoritative texts are rewritten and interpreted – in early Christian apocrypha, and in fanfiction.

Christian Stokke leads the research group. He is an anthropologist who researches religious and cultural diversity, intercultural understanding, life skills and exploring existential questions. Christian and Mira also research religious and spiritual experiences, and on how transpersonal psychology can contribute to enhance life skills.

Audun Toft’s research interests is in the fields of media and religion, didactics of religion, and cultural diversity in schools and kindergartens. He has researched media influence on religious education in upper secondary school, through participation in the Scandinavian project Engaging with Conflict in Mediatized Religious Environments and his PhD thesis Conflict and Entertainment: Media Influence on Religious Education in Upper Secondary School in Norway.

Kristina Undheim’s interests essentially relate to the processes that arise through the teaching of, and the learning about religion, ethics, and worldviews. Hence, her interests relate to the didactics and pedagogical disciplines of teaching these topics, including its interdisciplinary prospects. Other interests are biblical theology, organizational challenges within free-churches, and the multiple ways in which Christian churches are perceived, communicated, and taught throughout the educational system.

Selected publications in English
  • Aarvik, S. (2021). 'Spiritualized Islam': Reconfigurations of Islamic Dogma Among Young Non-Organized Muslims in Norway. Islam & Christian Muslim Relations, 32 (1), 81-96.
  • Aarvik, S. (2021). ‘Prayer Is Not for God, Itʼs for Usʼ: Therapeutisation of Islam among Young Adult Muslims in Norway. Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, 34 (1), 29-39.
  • Aarvik, S. (2022). Between Orthodoxy and Subjectivism, Journal of Muslims in Europe, 11(2), 153-174.
  • Ilkama, Ina Marie Lunde. 2018. «Dolls and Demons. The materiality of Navarātri.» In Nine Nights of the Goddess. The Navarātri festival in South Asia. Ed. Caleb Simmons, Moumita Sen and Hillary Rodrigues. New York: State University of New York Press, s 157-178.
  • Ilkama, Ina Marie Lunde. 2021. «This is not a Home, it is a Temple. Creative agency in Navarāttiri Kolu.» In Dynamics of Female Agency in Buddhism and Hinduism. Ed. Hüsken, Ute. Oxford University Press.
  • Krogstad, Kari (2017). Religious Festivals in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Institutions: A Norwegian Case Study. Tidsskrift for Nordisk Barnehageforskning, 16(3), 1–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.7577/nbf.2158
  • Kvandal, Halvor (2022) God Naturalized. Epistemological Reflections on Theistic Belief in Light of the New Science of Religion. Cham: Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83178-3
  • Kvandal, Halvor (2020) ‘The God-Faculty Dilemma: Challenges for Reformed Epistemology in the light of Cognitive Science’. International Journal for Philosophy and Theology 81 (4):404-422
  • Løland, Ole Jakob (2022) The Political Theology of Pope Francis. Routledge. 
  • Løland, Ole Jakob (2020) Pauline Ugliness and the Turn to Paul. Fordham University Press. 
  • Løland, Ole Jakob (2018) The Reception of Paul the Apostle in the Works of Slavoj Žižek. Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Puczydlowski, M. (2020) The Ontology of Evil and Its Anthropological Moment of Freedom in Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf and Plotinus’ Enneads (I.VII-VIII). The Polish Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1/2020): 85–99. 8847a11a-4f5f-4dbe-8e20-ef074747f642 (uj.edu.pl)
  • Puczydlowski, M. (2019) Theodicy as God’s Portraiture. Studia Philosophiae Christianae 55 (2019) 1: 27-46. Theodicy as God's portraiture - Studia Philosophiae Christianae - Volume 55, Issue 1 (2019) - CEJSH - Yadda (icm.edu.pl)
  • Puczydlowski, M. (2017) Karl Barth As a Postsecular Source Przegląd Religioznawczy / The Religious Studies Review 4 (266) 2017: 63-76. 5. Miłosz Puczydłowski.pdf (ptr.edu.pl)
  • Rodriguez, Mira Cataya & Christian Stokke (2019): “Taking spiritual experiences seriously in the religious education classroom” International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 24(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2019.1646221
  • Rosland, K. T. (2019) “Reading the Apocryphon of John as Genesis fan fiction.” I "Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures," Uhlenbruch, F. og Ammann, S. (red.) Special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 31. https://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/1559/2171
  • Stokke, Christian (2021): "Consciousness Development in Rastafari: A Perspective from the Psychology of Religion" Anthropology of Consciousness 32(1): 81-106. https://doi.org/10.1111/anoc.12129
  • Stokke, Christian (2021): «Unlearning Racism through Transformative Interracial Dialogue» International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education  https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2021.1930245
  • Stokke, Christian (2021): "Exploring the transpersonal phenomena of spiritual love relations: A naturalistic observation study of soulmate experiences shared in a New Age Facebook group" Journal for the Study of Spirituality 11(2): 130-144.  https://doi.org/10.1080/20440243.2021.1955454
  • Stokke, Christian & Mira Cataya Rodriguez (2021): "Spiritual Awakening Experiences: A Phenomenological Study in Transpersonal Psychology" Self & Society 49(2): 9-25. https://ahpb.org/index.php/spiritual-awakening-experiences/
  • Toft, Audun (2019). The extreme as the normal; binary teaching and negative identification in religious education lessons about Islam. British Journal of Religious Education, s. 1 - 13.
  • Toft, Audun (2018). Inescapable News Coverage: Media Influence on Lessons about Islam. Contesting Religion. The Media Dynamics of Cultural Conflicts in Scandinavia, s. 259 - 277. Walter de Gruyter
Selected publications in Norwegian