To propose innovative interdisciplinary approaches in research and teaching and the dissemination of knowledge contributing to a better understanding of the role of religions and the dynamics of identity in contemporary societies.


The Interdisciplinary Thematic Institute HiSAAR is dedicated to the critical study of religions through a multidisciplinary French, European and more widely international collaboration. This ITI gives the University of Strasbourg the means to increase its involvement in the socio-economic environment as well as in the fields of training and education.



The HiSAAR interdisciplinary thematic institute aims at studying religious facts in an innovative perspective - religious re-structuring: internal transformations and external interactions - which implies an ambitious interdisciplinarity and a transdisciplinary approach: history, sociology, archaeology and anthropology.


Themes and challenges in research

The HiSAAR interdisciplinary thematic institute aims to train specialists in the critical study of religious traditions with a solid knowledge of the literary sources, languages, historical events and cultures in which these traditions were produced.

The methodological approach of this ITI, based on the interdisciplinarity of the many Master's degree courses attached to it and practiced by its main leaders, is profoundly innovative. Providing a variety of methodological tools, this innovative approach opens to the analysis of religious facts through all the disciplines of the human sciences.

This ITI combines an in-depth knowledge of the historical and cultural development of the great religions from antiquity to the present day through the direct reading of primary textual sources, which involves specific linguistic and philological knowledge of the founding texts of the religions as well as the doctrinal and commentary production crystallized in the various traditions, coupled with fundamental contributions from archaeology, sociology, ethnology and anthropology.

The five training and research axes of ITI HiSAAR are:

  •     Text, intertextuality and tradition.
  •     Identities and otherness.
  •     Religions and politics
  •     Ritual practices: gestures, objects and representations.
  •     Sex, gender and religions.

The HiSAAR ITI was created for a period of 8 years, from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2028, and has received financial support from IdEx Unistra (ANR-10-IDEX-0002), and funding from the Investissements d'Avenir program within the framework of the SFRI-STRAT'US project (ANR-20-SFRI-0012).


Three major challenges


Exploiting the multidisciplinary nature of research

HiSAAR draws on the strong research potential of the University of Strasbourg in the field of religious systems of yesterday and today. Archaeologists, historians, philologists, sociologists and ethnologists from Strasbourg cover a long chronology, from prehistory to the present day, and a large area, from the Americas to the Far East.

Federating research

HiSAAR decompartmentalizes the often binary and ideologically oriented representative constructions of religions. Its ambition is to compare the religious systems that have existed or are still alive today in their internal functioning and in their interactions with their societal environment. All the research of the University of Strasbourg is thus federated in an unprecedented way.

Rely on a variety of methodologies

HiSAAR uses methodologies as diversified as its fields of research. It relies as much on textual and intertextual studies, the fabrication of identities and alterities, the societal boundaries between religions and political power, ritual practices and their objects materializing belief, as well as on the interactions between religions, sexual practices and gender.


A unique training offer

The training offered by HiSAAR integrates a large number of religious systems as well as historical or contemporary themes such as religious plurality, the recomposition of religious identities, the state regulation of religion, secularism or the processes of radicalization. This training of scientific excellence, offered to master's students and doctoral students, will be sanctioned by the HiSAAR University Diploma.


Une offre de formation inédite

Les formations proposées par HiSAAR intègrent un nombre important de systèmes religieux ainsi que les thématiques historiques ou contemporaines telles que la pluralité religieuse, la recomposition des identités religieuses, la régulation étatique du religieux, la laïcité ou les processus de radicalisation. Cette formation d’excellence scientifique, proposée aux masterisants et aux doctorants, sera sanctionnée par le Diplôme Universitaire HiSAAR.