Maria Birnbaum is a researcher at the University of Berne and studies the relation between cultural diversity and political order with a particular focus on religion and global politics.
She received her PhD in International Relations from the European University Institute (EUI) in 2015 during which she was part of an ERC funded project studying the global epistemological politics of religion. She was a visiting fellow at Northwestern University, USA, and Lund University, Sweden and held positions at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität (LMU) in Munich, Germany, Oslo University, Norway and Berne University, Switzerland.
In previous work Maria Birnbaum showed how religion became recognizable as a source of difference in colonial British India and Mandate Palestine as well as in the post-colonial establishment of Pakistan and Israel. Here, she emphasized the transnational processes and connections between the two cases.
In her current projects The Politics of the Unknown and the Epistemologies of Ignorance and The Costs of Recognition Maria is looking at the conditions and the epistemology of diversity. Her most recent publication Recognizing diversity: Establishing religious difference in Pakistan and Israel analyzes the conditions of epistemological change in the international politics of religion and is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.