Associate Professor - Promotion Programme
Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 København S, 10 Bygning 10 (Afsnit 2), Building: 10-4-10
My research focuses on Christianity as a lived religion. I have been particularly interested in Christianity in settings where it has not been the majority religion, but where it has had to occupy a different and less dominant position. I have studied figures of sainthood and the diverse relationships people hold towards religious authorities, and the interplay between orthodox and popular religion. Specialised in anthropological studies of Christianity, I have focused on the way religious practices have been working in an otherwise overtly secular Syrian state. Related to this focus on Christianity I have studied the new situation for Christians and Christianity in the Levant in light of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, where I have worked on how prayer has been taken up as a way of coping or addressing the changed landscape of the Middle East.
Currently, I explore these themes in relation to three large, collective research projects, which I am leading.
I am PI on the collective research project Archiving the Future: Re-Collections of Syria in War and Peace, which explores Syrians ways to deal with the past and their attempts to enact viable futures. The research project is funded by the Independent Research Council Denmark's Sapere Aude Starting Grant scheme.
Future aspirations, both in the short and the long term, is also the focal point in the project Viable Futures: Near and Long Term Prospects among Syrian Youth in Jordan, which I lead as PI with Anders Hastrup as co-PI. The project explores specifically how Syrian youths in Jordan operate tactically and strategically in the fields of education, agriculture and urban life. The project is funded by The Novo Nordisk Foundation through the grogram Pathways to Youth Empowerment and Self-Reliance in Jordan.
In connection to these projects I am co-PI on the project The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Global Modernities, where Bjørn Thomassen is PI. The project researches Catholic practice in Denmark herein I explore Syrian and Lebanese Christians and their senses of belonging in a Danish and Global context. The project is funded by the Velux Foundation and hosted by Roskilde University.
Beyond these projects, my work has over years received funding in the form of grants from The Danish Council for Independent Research in the Humanities | Culture and Communication and from The Velux Foundation.
Christianity, Sainthood, Minority relations, Syria, Lebanon, The Middle East, Secularism, Prayer, Power of Example, Qualitative Analysis, Temporality, Waiting, Future, History, Migration, Escalations
I teach in the following subjects:
- Migration, politics and social change
-History, Myth and Narration
- Negotiating Culture
- Qualitative Methods
- Theories of Culture and Society
- Theory of Science
Member of the Young Academy under the Danish Royal Academy of Science and Letters from 2016-2021.
Exemplary Life: Modelling Sainhood in Christian Syria. Toronto University Press, 2022.
"Exemplary Life is indispensable reading for anthropologists of religion, political theorists engaged in debates about charismatic authority and enjoyment, and scholars focused on Christianity more specifically. Combining a deep knowledge of Syria with a keen appreciation of the uncanny and the miraculous, Bandak attends carefully both to the spiritual practices of the followers of Our Lady of Soufanieh and to their felt experiences of worldly precarity. In doing so, he offers important insights into the nature of evidence and its relation to belief, faith, and affective intensities."
Lisa Wedeen, Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago
"This is a rich and rewarding book. Exemplary Life brims with sensitivity and insight, as Andreas Bandak relates the lifeworlds and concerns of Syrian Christians to some of the most significant theoretical and conceptual issues undergirding the human sciences. With and through Our Lady of Soufanieh – the saintly exemplar in question – we come away with new understandings of sainthood, politics, and the conceptual frames of our social worlds."
Matthew Engelke, Professor of Religion, Columbia University
"Bandak takes us on a vivid ethnographic journey into the everyday world of a holy woman and her followers as they pray, seek blessings, and tend to a holy icon during a precarious period in the history of Damascus. At the same time, he provides a sustained anthropological and philosophical reflection on what exemplification means – for scholars as much as for believers. This is a moving and inspiring book."
Simon Coleman, Chancellor Jackman Professor of Religion, University of Toronto