PD Dr. Sebastian Rimestad

PD Dr. Sebastian Rimestad

Research Fellow

Nikolaistraße 10, Room 416
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37726


Sebastian Rimestad is a faculty member in the Institute for the Study of Religion since September 2021. He is funded through the Heisenberg-programme of the German Science Foundation (DFG).

His main academic interests are:

- Orthodox Christianity

- History of Religion in Easterna dn Northern Europe

- Religious Conversion

- Religion and Politics in Modernity

- Religious Mionorities in Europe

Professional career

  • since 09/2021
    Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Religion of the University of Leipzig
  • 06/2021 - 08/2021
    Liselotte-Kirchner Archival Fellowship at the Archive of the Francke Foundations in Halle/Saale
  • 10/2020 - 03/2021
    Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences "Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities", University of Leipzig
  • 09/2018 - 11/2018
    Research Fellow at the Käthe-Hamburger-Kolleg "Dynamics of Religious History between Asia and Europe", Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 09/2012 - 08/2018
    Assistant Professor at the Chair of Religiouis Studies (Cultural History of IOrthodox Christianity), University of Erfurt
  • 04/2006 - 08/2012
    Student Assistant at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Erfurt


  • 09/2012 - 07/2019
    Habilitation (Second Book) in Religious Studies, University of Erfurt
  • 06/2007 - 12/2011
    PhD in Religious Studies, University of Erfurt
  • 10/2005 - 05/2007
    MA Religious Studies, University of Erfurt
  • 09/2000 - 05/2004
    MA Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
  • 08/1987 - 06/2000
    School education in Norway, Belgium, and Estonia

The following two projects are currently being pursued:

1. Establishing Confessional Cultures in 18th Century Poland-Lithuania

2. Religious Conversion as Statement

Both projects are linked through the question of outward religious identification in modern contexts. In Early Modern Poland, the establishment of confessional cultures were mainly the consequence of definition struggles by political and ecclesiastical authorities. On the other hand, a specific type of religious conversion since early 20th century is characterised by instrumentalising these externally framed religious identifications, in that the converts use the change of affiliation as a way to criticise their former religious home. They are not as much concerned with an inner "religious" renewal, but rather criticise "inconsistent" and "volatile" religious identities of modernity.

Sebastian Rimestad is also part of a number of smaller side projects, primarily related to Orthodox Christianity.

  • Religious Conversion, 2021-22, University of Leipzig

  • Additional teaching at the University of Erfurt, 2007-2021