Radboud University Nijmegen
Kirsten Smeets is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophical Ethics and Political Philosophy in the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Her research focuses on the role of religion in far-right political parties and movements in Europe. More specifically, she explores ‘Islam’ and ‘the Christian Europe’ as religious contra-identities within the anti-immigration discourse of the far right. She investigates the characteristics of these identities, how they are related to secularism and to what extent cultural memory theory explains the (re-)construction of a European identity based on a remembered Christian past. Her research project is funded by the NWO (Dutch Research Council) funding ‘PhDs in the Humanities 2020’.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology (cum laude) and a Master’s degree in Theology (cum laude) as well as a Masters in Religious Studies from Radboud University Nijmegen. In 2015 she won the University Award for her master thesis entitled: ‘The History of the Qur’an in the light of the Cultural Memory Theory of Jan Assmann’. In 2018 she was declared winner of the Theology Slam, issued by Radboud Reflects and NOSTER. She has given lectures on (inter)national conferences and she has published an article on religious leaders and the tension between the freedom of religion and the principle of equality:
Smeets, K. and C. Sterkens (2014). Religieuze voorgangers tussen Schrift en recht. Botsing van de godsdienstvrijheid en het gelijkheidsbeginsel in Nederland. Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid, 5 (3), 55-70.
Her research interests include: cultural memory theory, Islamophobia, secularism and identity construction.