Postal address: Missionsvetenskap, Teologiska fakulteten, Box 511, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Visiting address: Humanistiskt centrum, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 B
Web page: http://www.teol.uu.se/Research/Forskningsamnen/Missionsvetenskap/?languageId=1
Contact person: Professor Kajsa Ahlstrand, phone +46 (0)18 471 21 97
Research and activities related to South Asia
Prof. Kajsa Ahlstrand is specialised on Theology of Religion and Interreligious Dialogue. In her research, she has focused on the relation between Tradition and Modernity in the religions, and religion within a postmodern society. She defended her doctoral dissertation on ”Fundamental Openness: An Enquiry into Raimundo Panikkar’s Theological Vision and Its Philosophical Presuppositions” in 1993. During the years 1997-2003 Kajsa Ahlstrand worked as Advisor to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and its Department for Theology and Studies.
She has written several articles related to religion in South Asia, e g ”Toward a Paradigm Shift in Christian Mission: South Asia and North Europe”, published in ”Theology and the religions: a Dialogue” (Ed. Viggo Mortensen, Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K, 2003), and about ”Reincarnation and Resurrection: a Reconstruction” in ”Spiritualism: A Challenge to the Churches in Europe” (Ed. Ingo Wulfhorst, Geneva: LWF Studies 2004).
Prof. Ahlstrand has also written articles in Swedish magazines, such as ”Sati – testpunkt för förhållandet mellan tradition-modernitet i Indien” in Vår Lösen 4/1998; and ”Dop och dopteologi i indisk kontext” in Svensk Kyrkotidning 38/1998.
Kajsa Ahlstrand is a member of the South Asia Studies seminar (SAS), formed in 2006 by researchers in various disciplines engaged in South Asia research at Uppsala University. More information.
In February 2007, Prof. Ahlstrand went to the United Theological College in Bangalore, India, with a number of C-level students from her department. Later, this resulted in a formalised Linnaeus Palme exchange programme for students and teachers. This collaboration was established in 2009, and is coordinated by Kajsa Ahlstrand.
Since 2010, PhD Candidate Anita Yadala Suneson is working on a doctoral dissertation project entitled ”Indian Christians Living with Religious Plurality: Theological and Practical Strategies”, focusing on attitudes to religious plurality among Christians in India. She is supervised by Prof. Ahlstrand.
Project abstract: Empirical material from churches in Bangalore will be analysed and compared to the work of Indian academic theologians focussing on Christian approaches to religious plurality. Field studies will be carried out in two Pentecostal churches, one Lutheran church and one church belonging to the Church of South India. (The latter is a union of Anglican, Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian churches.) The empirical material that this generates will be discussed in relation to the theologians S.J. Samartha and M. Thomas Thangaraj from the Church of South India and the Pentecostal Geomon K. George.
An earlier study from 2008 has provided material from the two Pentecostal churches mentioned above. These two congregations – a branch of The Pentecostal Mission (TPM) and the Full Gospel Assembly of God (FGAG) – represent two different types of Indian Pentecostal churches, one indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and one belonging to an originally American denomination. The theology of both churches stresses the universality of Christ and the uniqueness of truth inherent in Christianity or, in the case of TPM, in their own denomination. But on a social level the lives of my Pentecostal hosts (this term is used here instead of ”informant”) are characterized by co-existence and acceptance of different religious identities.
PhD Henrik Rosén is working on a project.