Prof. Dr. Eva Spies

Junior Professor for the study of religion
with a focus on Africa

room: 1.11 (GW II)
fon: +49 (0)921 55 4150
fax: +49 (0)921 55 844156

Postal Address:
Religionswissenschaft mit Schwerpunkt Afrika
Universität Bayreuth/ GW II
95440 Bayreuth

Speaking hour: by appointment
(please contact me via email)


Eva Spies 1

copyright: Donal Khosrowi              

Research interests
Religious diversity and encounters of religious traditions; Christianity in Africa; Development cooperation and religion; Religious models of/for society and projects of transformation; Intercultural communication and hermeneutics; Religious epistemologies and anthropologies

Regional focus
Madagascar/Indian Ocean, Niger/West Africa


The work group „Early career academics“ within the German Association for the Study of Religion invited Eva Spies to give the keynote at their conference in September 2018:
Working title: „On the relationality of knowledge production in the study of religion: Doing research with / about missionaries in Madagascar“

Together with Abdourahmane Seck (University Gaston Berger St. Louis), Ruediger Seesemann and Franz Kogelmann (University of Bayreuth), Eva Spies convenes the Point Sud conference “Knowledge Production in and about Africa: Intersections of Moralities and Higher Education” in December 2018 in Dakar.

Panel “The plural and relational in religious practices, concepts, and spaces in Africa” at the 7th European Conference on African Studies ECAS in Basel (conference of the Research Network of African Studies Centres in Europe AEGIS), June 29 – July 1, 2017.
Convenors: Eva Spies (University of Bayreuth), Ruediger Seesemann (University of Bayreuth) and Benjamin Soares (University of Florida)

On October 19 and 20, 2017, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University hosts a Conference on “Dynamics of Religious Diversity. The Study of Different Religions and Religious Difference in Postcolonial Configurations”. This conference is the 2017 edition of the Annual Conference of the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion. Keynotes will be given by David Chidester, Kim Knibbe, Eva Spies and Peter van der Veer.


Personal Profile

Eva Spies is junior professor for the study of religion with a special focus on Africa at the University of Bayreuth since May 2014.    

She has done ethnographic research in Niger and Madagascar. Her current research focuses on empirical and theoretical questions of religious diversity, especially on the encounters and mutual perceptions of religious groups in Madagascar in the context of Christian South-South mission.

She is particularly interested in the interconnections between practices of religious engineering and development in the context of religious diversity. Religious engineering refers to the active and conscious ways of working on the 'improvement' and future shape of a given society (or of individuals, of Africa, or the world). The engineers here are actors who draw on religious resources, that is on symbols, actors, believes, practices or discourses that are associated with a religious tradition.

Until April 2014 Eva Spies was lecturer and later assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz. She holds an MA (Magistra Artium) in Cultural Anthropology, Study of Religion and Political Sciences (University of Tübingen) and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Mainz.


At the University of Bayreuth Eva Spies is
Member of the Executive Board of the Institute of African Studies (IAS)
Member of the Academic Committee of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) und PI of BIGSAS