In the debates about the question of how to handle the Covid-19 pandemic religious coping strategies barely receive attention. However, in some fierce debates religion does play a remarkable role. Research about so-called social influencers for instance shows how their critical stance towards strict government measures is inspired by spiritual gurus. This project aims to understand religious coping strategies from a humanities perspective and to enrich the current (scientific) approaches to the pandemic in light of the lasting significance of religion both in the Netherlands and globally.
Theoretically the project builds on the anthropology of ethics, a research tradition that has enabled scholars to articulate the productive potential of vulnerability, disease, and uncertainty for believers. Empirically the project will draw on historical data and will compare the Covid-19 pandemic with the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1920.
The supervisors of the research project were Tom-Eric Krijger (Religious Studies, Leiden University) and Paul van Trigt (Institute for History, Leiden University). The research trainees were Lorenza Cirillo and Thijs Scherjon. Eline Pollaert created a short podcast series to accompany the research project.
More information about the research project can be found in this PDF.