Markus Altena Davidsen wins the Gerardus van der Leeuw Dissertation Award 2016
Markus Altena Davidsen, university lecturer in the sociology of religion at LUCSoR, has been awarded the Gerardus van der Leeuw PhD Dissertation Award by the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion (NGG).
The prize is awarded biennially for the best dissertation in the study of religion defended at a Dutch university. Davidsen wins the prize for the dissertation The Spiritual Tolkien Milieu: A Study of Fiction-based Religion which he defended in Leiden in 2014. The prize consists of €650 co-sponsored by the NGG and the Van Baaren Stichting, and the invitation to hold the keynote lecture at the NGG spring meeting.
The jury writes the folllowing: "It is with great pleasure that this year’s jury has decided to grant the NGG Gerardus van der Leeuw Dissertation Award to dr. Markus Altena Davidsen. Dr. Davidsen received his PhD degree cum laude from Leiden University on October 16th 2014. With his thesis, The Spiritual Tolkien Milieu: A Study of Fiction-based Religion, he has made an extraordinarily valuable and innovative contribution to the theoretical debate in the study of religion. His meticulous analysis is focused on a religious tradition that might seem marginal at first sight but turns out to be the proverbial tip of a large iceberg, namely the transformation of popular fiction into new types of religion that are spreading rapidly in popular culture, both online and offline. To account for this phenomenon and its relevance to the study of religion generally, dr. Davidsen has developed an extremely sophisticated and innovative theoretical apparatus grounded in semiotics, with implications that reach far beyond the study of online religion or popular spirituality alone. We expect to hear much of this talented young scholar."
The jury was comprised of prof. dr. W.J. Hanegraaff (UvA; chair), dr. T. Nugteren (TU) and dr. Renée Wagenvoorde (RUG).