Simon Stjernholm

Simon Stjernholm

Associate Professor

Current research

My current research primarily focuses on various forms of oral Muslim teaching and preaching, using empirical material in Danish and Swedish. In addition, I have a continuous interest in and engagement with the study of Sufism.

I am the Principal Investigator (PI) of the collective research project Rearticulating Islam: A New Generation of Muslim Religious Leaders  (funded by the Velux Foundation), which investigates how a range of different Muslim actors attempt to speak and act for Islam in Europe in educational, homiletic and political contexts. Within this project, I am supervising two PhD students.

Together with Elisabeth Özdalga, I am the editor of Muslim Preaching in the Middle East and Beyond: Historical and Contemporary Case Studies (Edinburgh University Press, 2020). I am also coordinating, together with colleagues at the department, an interdisciplinary research cluster focused on religion.

I am currently working on a book titled Sensing Islam: Engaging and Contesting the Senses in Muslim Religiosity, which is to be published by Bloomsbury in the series Studies in Material Religion. 

I am a member of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul's (SRII) collegium of researchers as well as a member of the board of the related association Friends of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (FSIV). I am also the editor of FSIV's annual popular science journal Dragomanen, which publishes articles and essays related to Middle Eastern societies and cultures. 

Primary fields of research

My research primarily engages with the Anthropology and History of Islam, with particular focus on Sufism and Muslim preaching. My research thereby also relates to broader research fields like Islamic Studies, the Study of Religion, Anthropology of Religion, and Sensory Studies. Some of the topics I have addressed in my recent publications are: contemporary Sufism; Islam and Muslims in Europe; lived religion; Muslim preaching; voices and listening; senses and mediation.


At the BA program in the Study of Religion, I regularly teach the introductory course in History of Religions as well as a course on the history, development and globalisation of Islam. At the MA program, I regularly teach a course on theories and analytical strategies in the Study of Religion. I supervise student essays on all levels on a broad variety of topics. 

I am Program Coordinator for the BA and MA programs in the Study of Religion at the University of Copenhagen. I am also its representative in the department’s Study Board.

PhD Assessment

I have been part of the assessment committee of the following PhD dissertations: 

  • Emma Sundkvist, "Human Rights as Law, Language, and Space-Making: Women's Rights Movement in Post-revolutionary Egypt" (Lund University, 2022). 
  • Vibeke Moe, "Community, Boundaries, and Meaning in Narratives about Jews among Muslims in Norway" (University of Oslo, 2022). First opponent. 
  • Jesper Petersen, "The Making of the Mariam Mosque: Serendipities and Structures in the Production of Female Authority in Denmark" (Lund University, 2020). 
  • Selma Bukovica Gundersen, "Historieundervisning som erindringsarena: Brug af historie, sprog og religion til etnisk adskillelse og konstruktion af en umulighedsdiskurs i Bosnien-Hercegovina" (University of Copenhagen, 2020). Chair of the assessment committee. 
  • Gry Hvass Pedersen, "Modernity, Islamic Tradition and Higher Education: Visions of Modern Muslim Selfhoods among Contemporary Students at Islamic Universities in Asia" (University of Southern Denmark, 2020). 

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