Frank Usarski

Biography and/or project

In 2009, I obtained the title of a “Livre Docente” (Privatdozent, Habilitation) in Ciência da Religião (Religionswissenschaft / Study of Religions) at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. In 1987, I defended my PhD-thesis in the field of Religionswissenschaft on the process of the stigmatization of New Religious Movements in West Germany at the University of Hannover, Germany. Between 1987 and 1992 I lectured at the Institute of Religionswissenschaft at the University of Hannover. Simultaneously I lectured on Religionswissenschaft at the Universities of Oldenburg and Bremen (Germany). In 1992, two years after reunification of the two Germanys, I moved to the Faculty of Education at Erfurt (which, in 1994, was integrated into the re-founded University of Erfurt) where I participated as a Lecturer on Religionswissenschaft at the academic training of teachers in the field of Ethics. Simultaneously, I lectured Religionswissenschaft at the Universities at Chemnitz and Leipzig. From 1998 to 2003, I was a Visiting Professor at the Religious Studies Department at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), Brazil. Since 2003, I am a tenured member of this Department. I am  the founder (2001) and editor in-chief of the periodicals "REVER – Revista de Estudos da Religião", the first fulltext online-journal on Religious Studies in Latin America, and the International Journal for Latin American Religions. I am also the leader of the research group CERAL (Centro de Estudos de Religiões Alternativas de Origem Oriental no Brasil) that is investigating the history and contemporary situation of traditional and “new” Eastern religions in Brazil.