Almut-Barbara RENGER

Professorial Teaching Fellow
University of Basel







Almut-Barbara Renger studied Comparative Literature, German, Classics, and Religious Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Stanford University in California (M.A. 1995). In 2001, she received her doctorate (Dr. phil., summa cum laude) at the University of Heidelberg with a thesis on myths and fairy tales, and in 2009 she obtained her habilitation at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Part of her habilitation thesis was published in 2013 under the title Oedipus and the Sphinx by Chicago University Press. After working as a lecturer, research assistant, and senior assistant (1998–2008) at the Universities of Greifswald and Frankfurt am Main, she was Professor of Ancient Religion and Culture and Its Reception History at the Freie Universität Berlin from 2008 to 2021. She has been a Visiting Professor and Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Basel since 2019, a Wangari Maathai Distinguished Research Fellow in Religion and Sustainability at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2021, and is involved in the Research Hub SAGRaS at the University of Pretoria since 2022. Scholarships and fellowships have taken her to Harvard University (2007–2017), the University of Sassari (2009), and the University of Hamburg (2016). Additional visiting and replacement professorships in Religious Studies have taken her to the Imperial University of Groningen (2013), the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the University of Bonn (2021–2022). Through extensive fieldwork and lecturing activities in China, she has repeatedly worked at Peking University. In her current research, she is concerned with forms of modern Buddhism since the nineteenth century, alternative religious milieus since the 1960s in which the self-designation of spirituality is used, as well as impact histories of myths and legends within European cultural and religious history since Greek antiquity and in processes of multidirectional transfer of religion and knowledge between Asia, Europe, and North America since the eighteenth century. At the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Vienna, she held Erasmus short-term visiting professorships in 2012, 2015, and 2018. In the summer semester of 2023, she co-ordinates a course on “Introducing Buddhism.” She lives in Berlin and Basel.