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Jenny BerglundProfessor

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 TRATEBBB (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 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). In have also published a report on Publicly Funded Islamic Education in Europe and the United States for the Brookings Institution.

I am the General Seretary for the EASR (European Association for the Study of Religions).

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.

 

Teaching

I teach courses on religious education and Islamic education. I give two online cuorses in English:

Research

 Together with a group of researchers from various European countries, I am involved in a project on International Knowledge Transfer in Religious Education. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness of the importance of international cooperation and knowledge exchange regarding both the school subject religion (RE)(which looks very different in different countries) and the academic discipline religious education. We have recently published an anthology with the same name as the project. In my contribution to the anthology, I discuss what some of my international comparative studies have contributed to in terms of international knowledge transfer. During 2022 we will take the project further to discuss international knowledge transfer within the framework of teacher training.

Previously I have lead a study called Experiences of Islamic and secular education in Sweden and Britain. It was funded by The Swedish Research Council and  and Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions,(Project INCA 600398). The project examined the experiences of young Muslim school students in Britain and Sweden who moved between compulsory schools and supplementary Islamic classes. The project resultet in a number of publications that can be found below.

 

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).

 

 

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Ett fokus på levd islam bortanför maximalistiska representationer

    2021. Jenny Berglund. Fordommer i skolen, 183-197

    Chapter

    Forskning om religionsundervisning visar att religioner ofta representeras på ett maximalistiskt sätt som tenderar att förmedla en stereotyp bild av religiösa människor vilket riskerar att leda till fördomar. I kapitlet diskuteras hur ett religionsvetenskapligt perspektiv med fokus på levd religion kan bidra till ett mer nyanserat perspektiv på religion och religiösa människor. Islam används som exempel för att belysa den variation av praktik och tolkningar som förekommer. Det ger också konkreta exempel på den tolkningsvariation som finns bland människor som kallar sig muslimer.

    Read more about Ett fokus på levd islam bortanför maximalistiska representationer
  • Islam

    2020. Jenny Berglund. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies, 1007-1010

    Chapter
    Read more about Islam
  • Liturgical literacy as hidden capital

    2019. Jenny Berglund. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies 13 (4), 15-25

    Article

    This article focuses on a form of supplementary Islamic education that centres on Qur’an studies and examines the reported experiences of Muslim students that regularly shift between this and their mainstream secular school. Its aim is to better comprehend the dialectical interplay between this type of supplementary education and mainstream secular schooling. Within this framework, the article explores how the traditional way of reading, reciting, and memorizing the Qur’an might relate to the type of teaching and learning that occurs within mainstream public schools. It also explores the possibility of a secular bias within the Swedish school system, the contribution of Qur’an studies to mainstream schooling (and vice versa), Qur’an-based vs. mainstream notions of “reading”, especially in relation to the idea of “understanding” and “meaning”, and how competency in Qur’an recitation becomes valuable secular “capital” when translated from language of “liturgical literacy” to the language of “skills”. 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.

    Read more about Liturgical literacy as hidden capital
  • Qur’anic education and non-confessional RE

    2019. Jenny Berglund, Bill Gent. Intercultural Education 30 (3), 323-334

    Article

    This article focuses on the reported experiences of Muslim students that regularly shift between Muslim ‘supplementary education’ (including its traditional confessional focus on learning to read Arabic and then memorise and recite the Qur’an) and mainstream school education (including its ‘inclusive’ form of religious education’). The aim has been 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 often seemingly disparate institutions. A further aim is to place our findings within the growing field of intercultural education. Though both types of education are often thought to be distinct and oppositional – the former as non-confessional and ‘modern’, the latter as confessional and ‘outmoded’ – both English and Swedish students were able to identify a degree of symbiosis between the two, particularly in relation to the process of memorisation. Thus, it became increasingly clear to the researchers that Muslim student reflection on their participation in both traditions of education had an intercultural dimension in the sense of encouraging dialogue and discussion across educational cultures prompting new knowledge and understanding. This article lays out some of the evidence for this conclusion.

    Read more about Qur’anic education and non-confessional RE
  • State-Funded Faith-Based Schooling for Muslims in the North

    2019. Jenny Berglund. Religion & Education 46 (2), 210-233

    Article

    An emerging option in several European countries has been the state provision of publicly funded Islamic education. It is an alternative that lies at the heart of concerns over religious freedom, equal rights to education, integration, and social cohesion, but that is also connected to matters of securitization and the state’s attempt to control Islam. This article compares the provision of faith-based schooling in general, but publicly funded Islamic education in particular, in Finland and Sweden—two neighboring countries, historically and culturally connected, but with a different approach to faith based schooling.

    Read more about State-Funded Faith-Based Schooling for Muslims in the North
  • Islamic Education in Europe

    2018. Jenny Berglund. Public Theology, Religious Diversity, and Interreligious Learning, 158-170

    Chapter

    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. 

    Read more about Islamic Education in Europe
  • European Perspectives on Islamic Education and Public Schooling

    2018. Jenny Berglund.

    Book (ed)

    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?

    Read more about European Perspectives on Islamic Education and Public Schooling
  • Memorization and focus

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

    Article

    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.

    Read more about Memorization and focus
  • Student Perspectives on the Relation Between Mainstream SecularandQuran-based Islamic Education

    2018. Jenny Berglund.

    Conference

    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”.

    Read more about Student Perspectives on the Relation Between Mainstream SecularandQuran-based Islamic Education
  • Mainstream Secular and Qur'an-based Islamic Education

    2018. Jenny Berglund. European Perspectives on Public Education and Public Schooling, 390-408

    Chapter

    This article focuses on the reported experiences of Muslim students that regularly shift between Quran-centred supplementary Islamic education and mainstream secular school. Its 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”.

    Read more about Mainstream Secular and Qur'an-based Islamic Education
  • State Neutrality and Islamic Education in Sweden

    2018. Ailin Abdullah, Jenny Berglund. European Perspectives on Islamic education and Public Schooling, 312-334

    Chapter

    Public debate about Islam and Muslims often focuses on contradictions, conflicts, and contrasting value systems. Since 9/11, the bombings in Madrid and London and the recent rise of ISIS this debate has to a large extent included a fear that Muslim immigrants will be disloyal to their new Western countries, and thus requires increased surveillance and control. Conversely, others argue that Muslim populations in the West have wrongly suffered from the increasing intolerance and suspicion resulting from terrorist acts committed by a small number of radicals. Such voices point to a need to safeguard religious freedom and the right to equal treatment regardless of a group’s ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or religious background. In many European countries, these discussions have directed attention toward places of Islamic education such as Muslim schools, mosques, and Islamic organizations, focusing on the sometimes controversial manner in which they have been depicted in the media, public discourse, and, within Muslim communities themselves (Aslan 2009; Birt 2006). Religious education is both an essential and a challenging objective for minorities since the “transmission” of religious tradition to future generations is crucial to the survival of any religion. In Sweden as elsewhere in Europe many Muslim children and teenagers and even adults attend privately-run, extra-curricular Islamic classes. Some attend Islamic schools or are taught at home. Publically funded Islamic education options provided by the state are an emergent option in several European countries. These classes lie not only at the heart of debates over religious freedom, equal rights to education, and integration, but are also connected to matters of securitization and the state control of Islam. This paper will present an overview of publicly funded, mainly pre-university Islamic education in Sweden, a European Western secular Christian majority country with a Muslim minority population. Firstly, I will establish a definition of Islamic education and a description of the state funding of education and religion in general. Then, the paper will move on to describe different types of Islamic education that are available in Sweden.

    Read more about State Neutrality and Islamic Education in Sweden
  • The integration of Islam and Muslims in Public Schools

    2018. Jenny Berglund. Nordic Education in a Democratically Troublesome time, 28-30

    Conference

    Since the bombings in London, Paris and Stockholm, public debate about Islam and Muslims has often focused on contradictions, conflicts, and contrasting value systems. On one side of this debate are those with a growing concern that immigrants with Muslim cultural backgrounds would be disloyal to their European homes, thus requiring increased monitoring, surveillance, and control. And on the other side are those who argue that the West’s Muslim populations have wrongly suffered from the increasing fear, intolerance, and suspicion generated by the international politics and terrorism of a small number of radicals. Such voices claim that there is a need not for monitoring and surveillance, but rather for the safeguarding of religious freedom and the right to equal treatment regardless of a group’s ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and/or religious background.

    In many countries these discussions have directed attention towards places of Islamic education such as Muslim schools, mosques, and Islamic organizations, with a focus on the often controversial and contested manner in which they have been depicted in the media, in public discourse, and, indeed, within Muslim communities themselves. Here it should be emphasized that issues surrounding the matter of how to transmit one’s religious tradition to future generations is crucial to the survival of any religious minority in any part of the world, making religious education both an essential and a challenging minority cultural aim.

    In a “Democratically troublesome time” international knowledge transfer and learning from each other, across national borders, can be of utter importance. For this reason, I will, in this paper: 1) present a typology of publicly funded pre-university Islamic education in Europe; 2) present some findings from my latest research project that deals with young Muslims Experiences of Islamic and secular education in Sweden and Britain; 3) point to some challenges and opportunities concerning the integration of Islam and Muslims in Public Schools on the basis of 1) and 2).

    Read more about The integration of Islam and Muslims in Public Schools
  • Swedish Religion Education in Public Schools - Objective and Neutral or a Marination into Lutheran Protestantism?

    2023. Jenny Berglund. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion

    Article

    This article takes its point of departure in the recommendations by the Council of Europe, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) that recommend that European states should offer education about religions for all school students, regardless of religious or non-religious background. Sweden is one of the countries that provides such education through a compulsory non-denominational religion education (RE) school subject. The compulsory nature of the school subject is possible as long as the teaching is both ‘objective and pluralistic’. In this article, the concept of objectivity but also neutrality is discussed, using the Swedish school subject as an example. The argument pursued is that RE in Sweden, although presented as objective and neutral, also can be understood as ‘marinated’ in Lutheran Protestantism. In the end, the protestant taste of the Swedish non-denominational and compulsory RE is used as a call for further awareness of how the religious history of a given country affects not only education but also the way people perceive the phenomena called religion. These are important perspectives not only for RE teachers who are demanded to teach in a neutral and objective manner, but perhaps also for lawyers?

    Read more about Swedish Religion Education in Public Schools - Objective and Neutral or a Marination into Lutheran Protestantism?

Show all publications by Jenny Berglund at Stockholm University