Depictions of Islam in Textbooks

The portrayal of religious plurality in textbooks is becoming increasingly significant against the background of current debates surrounding Islam and Muslims in Europe. The Islam debate in the West is embedded in migration and integration discourse as well as in negotiations on the relationship between state and religion. Conversely in predominantly Muslim societies textbook content is affected by controversies surrounding the question of inter-Muslim diversity.

Research into the representation of Islam in textbooks involves long-term studies of these different contexts in three main projects: Firstly using content analysis, interviews and focus groups to evaluate depictions of Islam in Islamic religious teaching in state schools and Islamic schools in Germany with regards to content and negotiations surrounding textbooks for religious education. Secondly depictions of Islam in textbooks for history, geography and political and social studies in Europe will be researched in terms of the portrayal of Islam in textbooks for subjects fostering a sense of meaning and identity, using content and image analysis. Thirdly the didactic concepts behind the communication of religious knowledge, the interpretation of Islam and the portrayal of religious diversity in the representation of Islam in educational media in predominantly Muslim countries will be examined through text analysis.

These studies will address a series of questions relevant to Islamic studies and textbook research and to diversity education: Within the framework of which discursive constellations are textbook contents related to Islam created, discussed and adopted? Which competing interpretations of Islam are present in textbooks? Are there differences between (Islamic) pedagogical concepts in majority and minority contexts or differences between Islamic teaching and teaching about Islam? What information do educational media disseminate about religious plurality, religious practice and affiliation and what differences are manifest in this content?


  • GEI

Riem Spielhaus

Head / Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B1.18
Phone: +49 531 59099-319
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