Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Niels Valdemar Vinding

Niels Valdemar Vinding

Assistant professor

My primary research is on Islam and Muslims in Denmark and Europe. As a relatively new religious minority from the middle of the 20th century and onwards, Muslims have quickly to become the second largest religious community in Denmark and many other of the European countries. Here I investigate how Muslims are organizing and building sustainable, institutionalized structures. It is all about establishing professionalism, integration, representations and a continious negotiation of positions, ressources and status.

Closely connected to this research there is plenty of occasion to work on a number of related issues; sharia, law and religion, religion and politics, history of Christianity and Middle East studies.

I will gladly give a talk, a class or some sound counselling if needed, and I would love to advice on papers and theses, if relevant to my reserach interests.

Current research

‘Imams of the West’ proposes a qualitative sociological interview study of between 50 and 60 imams in Europe, Australia and North America (‘the West’) in order to document how the Islamic religious institution of the imam changes in the challenging encounter with a global, multicultural and post-migration ‘Western’ world.

The three main research objectives are to produce;

  1. A clear sociological and Islamic studies profile of the institution of the imam in the Western context, in both its archetypical, classic form and in all its modern and contemporary varieties. Simply put; who is the imam and what does he think and do?
  2. An in-depth analysis of the reflection by the interviewees on the challenges facing Islam in the West today, leading to an assessment of the theological innovations of Islam in the West. Where is Islam headed and how does it respond to the West?
  3. A comparative analysis of the developments, positions and reflections of the imams in their geographical spread. While migratory, political, economic and historical circumstances diverge in the individual countries and states, there is a comparable and ongoing discourse about Islam and imams on all three continents,

Read more about the project here.

In November 2014 I arranged a conference on "Imams in Western Europe." The best presentations are online.

Primary fields of research

Islam in Europe and Denmark. Relations between religion, state and church. Organised and institutionalized Islam. Multiculture, plurality of religions and multiculturalism. Imams in Europe, America and Australia.


Islamic Law, MA Spring 2015
Islam in Europe and Denmark, MA Spring 2015
History of Christianity, BA Fall 2014
Classic Islamic Civilisation, BA Spring 2014

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Muslim Positions in the Religio-Organisational Fields of Denmark, Germany and England

    Vinding, N. V. 2013 København: Det Teologiske Fakultet. 279 p. (Publikationer fra Det Teologiske Fakultet; No. 42).

    Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis

  2. Published

    Challenged Pragmatism: Conflicts of Law and Religion in the Danish Labour Market

    Christoffersen, L. & Vinding, N. V. 17 Sep 2013 In : International Journal of Discrimination and the Law. 13, 2-3, p. 140-168 29 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  3. Published

    Frederik VII og folkets kærlighed: Dansk civil religion i en overgangstid

    Perlt, M. & Vinding, N. V. 2013 Civilreligion i Danmark : Ritualer, myter og steder. Warburg, M., Schütze, L. & Larsen, S. E. (eds.). Forlaget Univers, p. 95-114 20 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

Selected activities

  1. Imams in Western Europe

    Vinding, N. V. (Organizer)
    5 Nov 20147 Nov 2014

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation of and participation in conference

ID: 13185733