Systemkritik was established in September 2013 as a standing working group for those at Aarhus University who are interested in milieus in which there arise fundamental critiques of existing social, political and religious systems. These milieus include, but are not restricted to, Islamic ones. Systemkritik brings together researchers with an interest in these critiques, and in responses to them, both religious and political. It unites approaches that focus on ideas and history with approaches that focus on social and psychological mechanisms, taking all these equally seriously.

Systemkritik is not dependent on external funding, and so hopes to maintain continuity and avoid the loss of knowledge that often occurs when externally funded projects and centers come to the end of their funding.

The varieties of critique and response in which Systemkritik is interested include those generally understood as radicalism and extremism. Systemkritik engages in the current debate on these issues, and aims to respond to the demand for knowledge in these areas that comes from government and from society in general. However,  Systemkritik also aims to go beyond the current debate, working to create and refine a conceptual framework that permits and generates new and valuable understandings. It recognizes, for example, that fundamental critiques of existing social, political and religious systems can be a good thing--that without such critiques, human society would have remained in the stone age.

The primary objectives of Systemkritik are:

  • to foster discussion
  • to serve as a basis for grant applications and further work
  • to provide an umbrella for existing and future projects

To this end, Systemkritik

  • holds one meeting each semester in order to keep members up-to-date on developments, and discuss issues of general interest.
  • maintains an internal email discussion list for circulating details on calls, conferences, project announcements, and so forth.
  • is investigating the possibility of arranging a "Humfag" course for interested students.
  • will arrange occasional seminars and lectures.

Systemkritik currently includes researchers from the humanities (philosophy), the social sciences (anthropology and the Study of Religion), psychology, and area studies (Arab and Islamic Studies). Current projects under the Systemkritik umbrella include: