Jenny Berglund

Jenny Berglund


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education
Telephone 08-674 77 81
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 20 A, plan 3,4,5
Room P342
Postal address Institutionen för de humanistiska och samhällsvetenskapliga ämnenas didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am professor in religious education at Stockholm university. My particular area of interest concerns the matter of Islam and religious education. This is reflected in my 2009 (Uppsala university) dissertation Teaching Islam, Islamic Religious Education at Muslim Schools in Sweden (Waxmann).

I have collaborated on the editing of several Swedish books, in which my own contributions have generally dealt with Islam in Sweden. I have also worked in several research projects, such as  "Religion as a Resource", which concerns the lives, values, relations, leisure time activities and religious interests of Swedens youth populations. I have also been part of TRATEBB (Teaching Religion and Thinking Education at the Baltic-Barent Brim), a research project designed to study religious education at four sets of "twin-schools" located on either side of four state boundaries in the Baltic-Barent region.

In 2015 I published a report on Publicly Funded Islamic Education in Europe and the United States for the Brookings Institution.

I am the co-chair of the Religion and Public School group at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and I  also acts as a co-ordinator the IAHR-Women Scholars Network.

I am one of the editors of the editors of the Religious Diversity and Education in Europe series at Waxmann and Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and Education. In November 2014 I was awarded an International Career Grant from Swedish research council (co-funded by Marie Skludowska Curie Actions FP7). The grant has included funding for a three year project that concerns young Muslims experiences of moving between supplementary mosque education and public school (Experiences of Islamic and "Western" education in Sweden and Britain). As part of the International Career Grant I have been a guest researcher at Warwick Religions and Education Research Center (WRERU).



I am currently leading a study called Experiences of Islamic and secular education in Sweden and Britain. This is a projcet funded by The Swedish Research Council and  and Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions,(Project INCA 600398).

The project examines the experiences of young Muslim school students in Britain and Sweden who move between compulsory schools and supplementary Islamic classes. Traced respectively to ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ educational perspectives, these two educational settings are generally perceived in polarized term.  In this context, the growing diversity of provision particularly in the decentralised and voluntary Islamic sector also tends to be neglected.  Despite the plethora of studies on “European Islam” and intercultural education, this field remains under-researched particularly in relation to the direct experiences of the students themselves. In this light, the aim of this comparative research project is to deepen our understanding of how these different learning traditions complement and/or counteract each other from the student perspective.. Derived from several pilot studies, the broad hypothesis that will be examined is that, contrary to a widespread view within and outside the educational establishments in Sweden and the UK (and other Western countries), the two (internally varied) types of education may be in certain respects  complementary.


Selection of Publications

  • Berglund, Jenny & Bill Gent (2017) “Believing, belonging and behaving: some considerations when teaching about Islam”, in REtoday, The magazine for the Religious Education community.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2017) Secular normativity and the religification of Muslims in Swedish public schooling2017In: Oxford Review of Education, , Vol. 43, no 5, p. 524-535.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2017) The Study of Islamic Education: A Litmus Test on State Relations to Muslim Minorities. In: Method and Theory in the Study of Religion: Working Papers from Hannover. Ed Steffen Führding, Brill Academic Publishers, p. 232-258.
  • Berglund, Jenny, Yafa Schanneik, Brian Bocking (2016) Religious Education in Global and Local World. Springer.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2016) ”Islamic Religious Education in Muslim Schools: A Translation of Islam to the Swedish School System” in Religious Education in Global and Local World, eds: Jenny Berglund, Yafa Schanneik, Brian Bocking. Springer
  • Berglund, Jenny (2016) “Continuity and Change: Experiences of Teaching Religious Education in the Light of a Life Trajectory of Hifz and Secular Education” in Religion & Education.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2016) ”Religious Education on the Borders” in Usuteaduslik Ajakiri, Akadeemilise Teoloogia Seltsi väljaanne, 7-24.
  • Berglund, Jenny, Thomas Lundén, Peter Strandbrink (2015) Crossings and Crosses: Borders, Educations, and Religions in Northern Europe. De Gruyter.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2015) Publicly funded Islamic Education in Europe and the United States. Washington: The Brookings Institution.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2014) ”Princely Companion or Object of Offense?: The Dog’s Ambigious Status in Islam” in Society and Animals. 22 (6), 545-559.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2014) "Teaching Orthodox Religious Education on the Border" in British Journal of Religious Education.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2014) "An Ethnographic Eye on religion in Everyday life" in British Journal of Religious Education, Vol 36 (1), 39-52.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2014) "Singing and Music A Multifaceted and Controversial Aspect of Islamic Religious Education in Sweden" in Reforms in Islamic Education: International Perspectives, ed. Charlene Tan. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2013/2014) "Islamic Religious Education in state funded Muslim schools in Sweden: A sign of secularization of not?" in Public Islam and the Nordic Welfare State: Changing Realities, Studies in Contemporary Islam, Vol 15-16 (1-2). Ulrika Mårtensson (ed.)
  • Berglund, Jenny (2013) "Swedish religion education - Objective but Marinated in Lutheran Protestantism?" in Temenos, 49:2, 165-184.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2013) "An Ethnographic Eye on religion in Everyday Life" in British Journal of Religious Education, 36:1, 39-52.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2013) "Islamic education in Sweden" in Islamic Education in Secular Societies, Aslan, Ednan & Rausch, Margaret, (eds.) Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2013) "Islamic Identity and its Role in the Lives of Young Swedish Muslims" in Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life, 7:2, 207-227. Springer.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2012) "Young Muslims' Confidence in Teachers Suggests the Importance of Relational Skill" in Journal of Believes and Values, 33:3 Taylor & Francis.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2012) "Islamic Identity and its Role in the Lives of Young Swedish Muslims" in Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life, Springer. 7:2, 207-227.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2011) "Global questions in the classroom –The formulation of Islamic religious education at Muslim schools in Sweden" in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. 32:4, 497-512.
  • Berglund, Jenny (2010) Teaching Islam, Islamic Religious Education in Sweden. Munster: Waxmann (published thesis).




A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Jenny Berglund. Interkulturell religionsdidaktik, 275-290
  • 2018. Jenny Berglund. Public Theology, Religious Diversity, and Interreligious Learning, 158-170

    Islamic religious education (IRE) in Europe has become a subject of intense debate. People worry their states are doing too little or too much to shape the spiritual beliefs of private citizens. State response to the concern ranges from sponsoring Islamic education in public schools to forgoing it entirely. The policies vary according to national political culture. On one hand, the emergence of publicly funded Muslim schools and IRE in Europe can be seen as to provide equal educational opportunities to Muslims and other religious minorities through partnerships with the state. On the other hand, public funding can also be conceived as a means to “domesticate” Islam by bringing it within the European framework. In other words, offering publicly funded Islamic religious education can be viewed as an attempt to control Muslims. In this paper I explore these questions by discussing them in relation to state-church relations in different European countries. I also use the comparison theoretically to argue that the study of publicly funded minority education, such as Islamic education, can be understood as a litmus test for the relation between various Western democracies and their minority populations but also in relation to the concept of public theology. 

  • 2018. Jenny Berglund.

    Islamic religious education (IRE) in Europe has become a subject of intense debate during the past decade. There is concern that states are doing too little or too much to shape the spiritual beliefs of private citizens. State response to the concern ranges from sponsoring religious education in public schools to forgoing it entirely and policies vary according to national political culture. In some countries public schools teach Islam to Muslims as a subject within a broader religious curriculum that gives parents the right to choose their children’s religious education. In the other countries public schools teach Islam to all pupils as a subject with a close relation to the academic study of religions. There are also countries where public schools do not teach religion at all, although there is an opportunity to teach about Islam in school subjects such as art, history, or literature. IRE taught outside publicly funded institutions, is of course also taught as a confessional subject in private Muslim schools, mosques and by Muslim organisations. Often students who attend these classes also attend a publicly funded “main stream school”.

    This volume brings together a number of researchers for the first time to explore the interconnections between Islamic educations and public schooling in Europe. The relation between Islamic education and public schooling is analysed within the publicly and privately funded sectors. How is publicly funded education organised, why is it organised in this way, what is the history and what are the controversial issues? What are the similarities and differences between privately run Islamic education and “main stream” schooling? What are the experiences of teachers, parents and pupils?

  • 2018. Jenny Berglund, Bill Gent. Journal of Religious Education 66 (2), 125-138

    This article presents the results of a participative study, involving a group of 27 British Muslim students aged 15–18, who were given the opportunity to reflect on the implications of having participated in two different ‘traditions’ of education: that is, Muslim supplementary education (in its various forms) and state mainstream schooling. The project was participative in that school senior managers had invited the researchers to carry out the research as part of their constant striving to identify the conditions under which students learn best. Both the design and outcomes of this research programme are presented and discussed in this article. One of the main findings is that the students experience the skills of memorization and focus as positive transferables. The findings will be discussed in terms of the concept of liturgical literacy.

  • 2018. Jenny Berglund.

    My paper focuses on the reported experiences of Muslim students that regularly shift between Quran-centred supplementary Islamic education and mainstream secular school. The paper thus reflects how the Islamic worldview of the students impact their motivation and way of learning in secular school and also how their secular school environment impact their Islamic learning.

    The aim is to better comprehend how these students make sense of this dual educational experience while negotiating the knowledge, skills, and values that are taught to them by two apparently disparate institutions. The interviews were conducted in Stockholm and London, and thus a secondary aim is to assess the similarities and differences between these two national contexts. To balance and enhance our understanding of student experiences, this article employs a constructive understanding of Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of cultural capital and habitus as well as Andrey Rosowsky’s notion of liturgical literacy. It shows differences between Quran-based and mainstream notions of “reading”, especially with respect to their contrasting definitions of “understanding” and “meaning”; it also explores how competency in Quran recitation might become a valuable “capital” when translated from the language of “liturgical literacy” to the language of “skills”.

Show all publications by Jenny Berglund at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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