Juniorprof. Dr. Bernadett Bigalke

Juniorprof. Dr. Bernadett Bigalke

Junior Professor

Religionswissenschaft (JP)
Schillerstraße 6, Room 115
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37163
Fax: +49 341 97-37169


Bernadett Bigalke has been a research assistant at the Institute for Religious Studies since 2014. Her research focuses on religion and medicine, modern Catholicism, research on esotericism, New religious movements in the 19th and 20th centuries and the body in religious history. Her teaching offers topics from the European and North American history of religion.

Professional career

  • since 10/2014
    University of LeipzigResearch Associate at the Institute für Religious Studies
  • 09/2013 - 09/2014
    University of PotsdamResearch Associate at the Institute für Jewish Studies and Religious Studies
  • 05/2009 - 10/2010
    German Hygiene Museum in DresdenScientific Assistant for the Temporary Exhibition "Religious Energy - About Man and God"


  • 07/2017 - 06/2019
    Mentoring Program for Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 10/2005 - 12/2013
    University of ErfurtDoctoral Student at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies
  • 03/2015 - 07/2017
    Centre for University Didactics of SaxonyCertificate Program Module 1 and 2
  • 10/1997 - 03/2003
    University of LeipzigMagister Study in Religious Study and Ethnology

The focus has been on esoteric research and modern Catholicism since the 19th century. Of particular interest is the nature of the relationship between the religious and medical field, as is the role of the human body in the history of religion in modern times.

The current project uses a diachronic comparison to examine marginalized and highly controversial Catholic piety in practice such as radical abstinence from food since the end of the 18th century. In particular, the processes of negotiation between the various interpretative communities are at the center of research from the perspective of the history of knowledge.

A second research project funded by the DFG "When Healing Fails: Cognitive Dissonance and Resilience Factors in Failed Religious Healings. A Comparative Study of Three Local Christianities" investigates how Christian believers cope with failed religious healing and missing miracles. Together with colleagues from the Institute for Religious Studies the ethnographical case studies reconstruct religious performances and narrations in concrete communication situations. Among other things, the goal is to develop a comprehensive typology on the communicative factors of resilience.

In teaching, Bernadett Bigalke offers topics from the field of European and North American religious history in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to an overview of the history of Christianity, in-depth courses are offered that combine religious history and historical-sociological issues. The range of topics spans religious practices (foodways, pilgrimage, Yoga), history of religious institutions (New religious Movements) as well as cosmological and anthropological issues (esoteric body concepts, ideas of salvation). A second focus in teaching are introductory courses for Bachelor and Master students and colloquia in preparation for the final theses.