Hans Alma, Ph.D.
Professor of Cultural Psychology and Existential Counseling Studies
Director of the Department Globalization and Dialogue Studies
University of Humanistic Studies
3500 AT Utrecht
Phone: + 31 (0)6 23365526
Hans Alma studied Cultural Psychology and Psychology of Religion at the Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) and holds a Ph.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam, in the field of religious identity development.
Before she became rector magnificus of the University of Humanistic Studies (2007-2012), she mainly worked in the field of psychology of religion, with a focus on religious development and socialization, the relationship between religion, art and imagination, and the psychology of religious and aesthetic experiences.
In 2012 she became director of a new research group at her university, Globalization and Dialogue Studies. She continued her work on art and imagination, but with a focus on religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue in the context of a globalizing world. She is one of the initiators of the international consortium SIMAGINE: social imaginaries in a globalizing world, in which research groups from the University of Humanistic Studies, VU University (Amsterdam), University of Groningen, Utrecht University, University of Antwerp, University of Cambridge, University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of California participate. This consortium tries to philosophically elaborate on and empirically study the concept of social imaginaries, as it is coined by Charles Taylor (among others). We think this concept is particularly helpful to understand the religious dynamics of our times, in all their complexity, richness and potential animosity. Through academic work we try to contribute to an engaged pluralism that strives to develop new ways of living together through the confrontation with diversity. Hans tries to bring scientists and practitioners together in the platform Engaged Pluralism that searches for new societal models and professional methods founded on dialogue about differences. Our goal is to contribute to constructive ways of preventing or coping with conflict, and we hope that TAOS will be a partner in this endeavour.
Selection of Publications:
- Alma, H.A. (2015). Religious pluralism as an imaginative practice. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 37 (2), 117-140.
- Alma, H.A. (forthcoming in 2015). Religie in het publieke domein: John Dewey’s democratische ideaal tegen de achtergrond van het actuele religiedebat (Religion in the public domain: John Deweys democratic ideal against the backdrop of the actual religion debate). In M. Van den Bossche & G. Coene (Red.), Vrij(heid) van religie. Brussel: VUBPress.
- Alma, H.A. (2009). Imagination and transcendence: The transcendental dimension in art from a psychological point of view. In H. Alma, M. Barnard, V. Kuester (Eds.), Visual arts and religion (pp.109-123). Berlin: LIT Verlag.
- Alma, H.A. (2008). Religious and aesthetic experiences: A psychological approach. In T.H. Zock (Ed.), At the crossroads of art and religion: Imagination, commitment, transcendence (pp.23-38). Leuven: Peeters.
- Alma, H.A. (2008). Self-development as a spiritual process: The role of empathy and imagination in finding spiritual orientation. Pastoral Psychology, 57 (1-2), 59-63.