Religious Education research group

The research group has an interdisciplinary focus on didactic resources and pedagogical practices that accommodate the perspectives and rights of children and youth in religious and moral education in school and in early childhood education.


2-3 December 2021 the research group is hosting the annual conference of the Norwegian Religious Education Research Forum (NoReFo) at campus Drammen.

The members of our research group come from a range of academic traditions and represent a diversity of perspectives on religious and moral education in schools and early childhood education. While interdisciplinarity and diversity of perspectives is our strength, we share a focus on accommodating the perspectives and rights of children and youth in education. We do research on religious pluralism and cultural diversity among children and young people, on how kindergarten kids and schoolchildren talk about faith, on using art and excursions as didactic resources, and on pedagogical practices to explore existential questions, develop intercultural understanding, critical thinking, and promoting life skills and psychological wellbeing.

Areas of research

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.

Vigdis Hølen’s research interests include didactics of philosophy, pedagogical philosophy, history of philosophy, theory of science, epistemology, ethics and professional ethics for teachers, and democracy and citizenship.

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.

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 withing free-churches, and the multiple ways in which Christian churches are perceived, communicated, and taught throughout the educational system. 

Idar Vassli works on didactic questions concerning how religious education contributes to interdisciplinary teaching in primary and secondary school. He has also worked with New Testament issues and storyline as a method for locally-based history teaching in school.

Geir Winje’s research in Religious Studies is on Neopaganism and related movements understood as late modern religion. His research on religious education didactics is mainly on religious art as a didactic resource.

Selected publications in English

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

Rodriguez, Mira & 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

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

Hareide, Sigurd (2016) «Mer faglig arbeid, mindre kos!» Om gudstjenester og julesanger i skolen Kronikk publisert på Verdidebatt.no, 21. desember 2016

Hareide, Sigurd (2016) Den store filmedebatten – november 2016 Blogginnlegg med oversikt over debatten om en animasjonsfilm for ungdom om avlat og reformasjonen der filmen ble endret som følge av debatten.

Hareide, Sigurd (2014) Meningsfull messe: Om messen i middelalderen og de allegoriske messeforklaringene. I: Hareide (innledning), Kleivane (oversettelse) og Norseth (redaktør): Messuskýringar. Norrøne messeforklaringer i norsk oversettelse. Festskrift til Jan H. Schumacher. St. Olav forlag, s. 9-53

Hølen, Vigdis og Geir Winje (2017) "Skal vi svare eller spørre?" Elevenes møte med religion og filosofi. I Stig Bjørshol og Ronald Nolet (red.): Utforsking i alle fag. Cappelen Damm.

Hølen, Vigdis; Levi Geir Eidhamar og Paul Leer-Salvesen (2007) Den Andre. Etikk og filosofi i skolen. Høyskoleforlaget.

Hølen, Vigdis (2005) "Å lære for å leve, å leve for å lære" i Ragna Ådlandsvik (red.): Læring gjennom livsløpet. Universitetsforlaget.

Iversen, Ragnhild (2017) "Religion og barndom". Syn og Segn (1) s. 26-33 https://www.synogsegn.no/artiklar/2017/utg%C3%A5ve-1-17/ragnhild-laird-iversen/

Krogstad, Kari (2019). Barnehagelæreres oppfatninger om muslimsk barneoppdragelse. Tidsskriftet Barn, 37(2), 9–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.5324/barn.v37i2.3097

Krogstad, Kari (2015). På leting etter religion. En diskursanalyse av begrepet «det flerkulturelle» i politiske tekster om barnehage. Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 99(1), s. 3-14.

Rosland, K.T. og Toft, A. (2013) «Markering av minoriteters høytider i barnehagen: en undersøkelse av forholdet mellom rammeplan og praksis.» I: FoU i praksis 2012: Conference proceedings. Trondheim 23. og 24. april 2012. Akademika forlag.

Stokke, Christian & Mira Rodriguez (2020): «Livsmestring og selvutvikling I KRLE – tar faget en subjektiv vending?» Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift 37(2), s. 137-148. https://www.idunn.no/nnt/2020/02/livsmestring_og_selvutvikling_i_krle

Toft, A. og Rosland, K. T. (2014): «Barnehager og høytidsmarkering: en gjennomgang og diskusjon av begrunnelser knyttet til manglende markering av ikke-kristne høytider.» Prismet 65 (4), s. 211-225 https://journals.uio.no/prismet/article/view/5595/4937

Torjussen, Stian Sundell (2018): “Riter i Derveni-papyrusen». Klassisk forum 1, s. 40-52.

Vassli, Idar (2007) ”KRL-faget og tema- og prosjektarbeid i grunnskolen” Prismet nr. 1

Vassli, Idar (2002) Wayne A. Grudems profetiforståelse. En presentasjon og drøfting av Wayne A. Grudems syn på forholdet mellom apostler og profeter i Det Nye Testamente. HIT skrift nr. 1

Winje, Geir (2017) «Kritisk og upartisk? Utilsiktet religionskritikk i lærebøker for KRLE», Prismet nr 2-3.

Winje, Geir (2017) «Elevenes møte med hellige tekster i KRLE» i Kverndokken, Kåre m.fl. (red.): Kvalitet og kreativitet i klasserommet. Ulike perspektiver på undervisning, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Winje, Geir (2014): «Elevers lesing av bilder i RLE», Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift nr 5, 2014.