Skip to content
Main menu hidden.
Staff photo Karin Sporre

Karin Sporre

Professor in Educational Work with a focus on values, gender and diversity.



Works at

Professor at Department of Applied Educational Science Units: Floor 4
Naturvetarhuset plan 4, huskropp NB, Johan Bures väg 16 Umeå universitet, 90187 Umeå

As Professor in Educational Work my present research focus is 

a) Children's existential questions and educational responses in a four year project,

b) Children, sustainability, and hope, and

c) Ethics and fiction reading, and the development of models for teaching and learning ethics in school. (For projects see below, but also as with recent publications, see separate websites).

My partnerships in research nationally and internationally are introduced in various ways below. In terms of international collaboration that I have taken part in and developed over the last twenty years, the cooperation with South African colleagues at several universities is to be noted. Within the research field of values and religious education, where ethics education often is located, I have given leadership nationally and internationally. As an ethicist I work not only within research but also as an educator in under- and postgraduate education, as well as in other assignments.    

National and international cooperation

2019 - 2022 Cooperation in the project The Child and Curriculum. Existential questions and educational responses, with Dr. Katarina Kärnebro, Umeå University,  Professor Christina Osbeck & Dr. Annika Lilja, Gothenburg University, and Professor Mette Buchardt, Aalborg University, Denmark. Funder: Swedish Research Council. Sporre PI.

2019 – 2021 Cooperation in the project Refining the Ethical Eye and Ethical Voice – The Possibilities and Challenges of a Fiction-based Approach to Ethics Education[KS3] , with  Professor Osbeck, C. (PI), Associate Professor Franck, O., Professor Lyngfeldt A., Dr. Lilja, A. and Dr. Lifmark, D. Funder: Swedish Institute for Educational Research. 

2015 – 2018 Cooperation in research on ethics and education with researchers at Gothenburg University, Sweden, with  Professor Osbeck, C. (PI), Associate Professor Franck, O., and Dr. Lilja, A. Project funded by Swedish Research Council: What may be learnt in ethics? Varieties of conceptions of ethical competence to be taught in compulsory school.

2010 -  Cooperation with Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka. 2015 & 2019 in joint PhD courses between Rhodes University, South Africa and Umeå University, Sweden. Other forms of cooperation as well: Visiting Professor October 8-12, 2018 and Professor Lotz-Sisitka to visit Umeå University December, 2019.  

2016 (Sept) Visiting Professor to University of the Western Cape, Belville, South Africa.

2012 - 2017 Cooperation with Prof. Geir Afdal and colleagues in the Norwegian Swedish PhD Programme Religion Values and Society [KS5] (RVS). Development of PhD courses.

2009-2015, Swedish contact person of Nordic Conference of Religious Education and Values (NCRE).

2009-2011 Visiting professor, Religious Studies, Karlstad University, 25 % of full time.

2004-2007 South African – Swedish research cooperation in education: South Africa - Sweden Systems to Systems Research Cooperation (SSSRC). Coordinators: Catherine Odora Hoppers (Sweden/South Africa) and John Pampallis, CEPD, (South Africa). Funding:  Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

2002-2005 Initiator and leader together with Professor H. Russel Botman of two Linnaeus-Palme exchanges between Högskolan Dalarna and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Theme: How to build a human rights culture.

2002 & 2005: Visiting Professor to Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, one month each time. Teaching in the field of ethics.

Keynote lectures/guest lectures 

"Ethics education in varying religious and values education frameworks – how and what to compare?", Guest lecture in PhD week, Rhodes University, Grahamstown/Makhanda, South Africa, October 8-12, 2018.
 “Ethics education contextualized in varying religious and values education frameworks
how and what to compare?”, International Seminar of Religious Education and Values XXI, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Nürnberg, Germany, July 29 – August 3, 2018.
“Human Dignity and Human Rights. A gender and Swedish perspective.” Summer school, Univ. of Stellenbosch, Faculty of Theology, and Humboldt University, Berlin. Stellenbosch, 26-28 Feb 2013.
“Gender, diversity, values, and religious education” , at the 9th Nordic Conference on Religious Education (NCRE), University of Stavanger, Norway, June 5th- 9th, 2007.
“Integrity and Justice at Stake Confessing and Embodying Unity – A Feminist Theological Perspective”, at the Conference Confessing Barmen and Belhar Today, Stellenbosch University, 19th-20th October, 2005.

Leadership of research groups

a) 2015 (July) – 2018 (July) Leader of research group RECEUM – Research in Early Childhood Education and Care, Dept. of Applied Educational Science, Umeå University. 

b/ 2011 – 2012 Leadership of research group, Values, Societies and Social Justice, Dept. of Education, Umeå University.

c/ 2006 – 2010 Scientific leader of Dept. of Teacher Education in Swedish and Social Sciences/Unit for Teaching and Learning, Umeå University.

d/ 2002-2006 The environment of Shared Values? at Högskolan Dalarna

e/ 2001-2003 Developing research in Feminist Ethics, Uppsala University, Dept. of Theology

Convener of international research conferences

1) Existential issues in research and education, Sigtunastiftelsen, 27-29 October, 2016.

2) Transboundary learning beyond disciplines. Education for sustainable development opening up research dialogues. Umeå University, October 9-11, 2012. Funding for keynotes from the Swedish Research Council.

3) Changing societies – Values, Religions, and Education, Umeå University, 9-13 June 2009. Funding for keynotes from the Swedish Research Council.

4) Humanity in a Global Era. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 4-5/11, 2002. Symposium for eighteen Swedish and South African researchers. Funded by Sida.

5) Development of research in feminist ethics. Eklundshof, Uppsala, 14/1 2002. 15 Nordic participants.

6) Gender and diversity - complexities and theoretical problems. Keynote, Professor Iris M. Young, University of Chicago. Sigtunastiftelsen, 1-2/9 2000. Funding: FRN and HSFR.

Ongoing and recently finished faculty and national assignments

2020 – Member of the National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct
2017 – 2019 Member of National Expert group on Research Misconduct, CEPN, Stockholm.
2014 – Member of Regional Research Ethical Vetting Board, Umeå.
2014 – Faculty committee for the promotion of docents and professors, Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences.
2012 - 2015 Member of the research committee of Umeå School of Education, Umeå University.

Board memberships, recent

Board of Trustees, International Seminar on Religious Education and Values. Chair of Programme Committee, 2012 - 2016
Board of PhD programme RVS, Religion, Values and Society, 2012 – 2017
Board of Nationellt Forum för Religionsdidaktisk/-pedagogisk forskning [National Forum for Religious Education Research], 2013 – 2017
Board of GRESD (National post-graduate school for education and sustainable development), 2009 – 2012
Board of Life and Peace Institute, Uppsala, 2008 – 2012 Umeå School of Education Research committee, 2012 – 2015

Opponent to PhD theses and/or member of evaluating committees, at 20 occasions

Sweden: Umeå University, Lund University, Uppsala University, Stockholm University, Örebro University, Karlstad University and Högskolan Dalarna.

Norway: Menighedsfakulteten, Oslo, Stavanger University, Stavanger,  NTNU, Trondheim and University of Oslo.

USA: Antioch University.

South Africa: Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town and Rhodes University.

Main supervisor, doctoral degrees

David Lifmark (2010) Emotioner och värdegrundsarbete. Lärare, fostran och elever i en mångkulturell skola [Emotions and values education: On teachers, ethics and pupils in a multicultural school]. Umeå University/Högskolan Dalarna.

Anders Bek (2012) Undervisning och reflektion: Om undervisning och förutsättningar för studenters reflektion mot bakgrund av teorier om erfarenhetslärande [Teaching and reflection. On teaching and presuppositions for students’ reflection against the background of theories on experiential learning]. Umeå University.

Katarina Kärnebro (2013) Plugga stenhårt eller vara roligt? Normer om språk, kön och skolarbete i identitetsskapandespråkpraktiker på fordonsprogrammet [Be a swot or a joker? Norms on language, gender and school work in identity forming language practices in the vehicle programme]. Umeå University.

Åsa Pérez-Karlsson (2014) Meeting the other and oneself: Experience and learning in international, upper secondary sojourns. Umeå University. 

Annika Manni (2015) Känsla. Förståelse och värdering. Elevers meningsskapande i skolaktiviteter om miljö- och hållbarhetsfrågor [Emotions, understandings, and values. Students’ meaning-making in school activities regarding environmental and sustainability issues]. Umeå University.

Maria Wiklund (ongoing) Rum för lärande [Room for learning]. Umeå University.

Assistant supervisor, PhD projects

Kristin Zeiler, Chosen Children? An empirical study and a philosophical analysis of moral aspects of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and germ-line gene therapy, Linköping University (2005)

Maria Rönnlund, Demokrati och deltagande. Elevinflytande i grundskolans årskurs 7-9 ur ett könsperspektiv. [Democracy and participation. Students’ influence in lower secondary years 7-9 from a gender perspective]. Umeå University (2011)

Gull Törnegren, Utmaningen från andra berättelser. En studie om moraliskt omdöme, utvidgat tänkande och kritiskt reflekterande berättelser i dialogbaserad feministisk etik [The challenge from other narratives. A study of moral judgement, enlarged thinking and critical reflective narratives in a dialogue based feminist ethics]. Uppsala University (2013)

Mardoeke, Boekeraad, Sami voices, sorry churches (ongoing project). Umeå University (2013-2014)

David Carlsson, Vad är religionslärarkunskap? En diskursanalys av trepartssamtal i lärarutbildningen [What is knowledge for RE teachers? A discourse analysis of three party conversations in teacher training]. Gothenburg University (2016).

Johan Runemark Brydsten, Sami confirmation, learning, and postcolonialism (ongoing). Umeå University.

Degree of Doctor (Karin Sporre)

1999 PhD, Ethics, Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

PhD Thesis title: Först när vi får ansikten - ett flerkulturellt samtal om feminism, etik och teologi. [First When We Have Faces – a Cross-cultural Conversation on Feminism, Ethics and Theology]. Stockholm: Atlas, 1999 & Lund University. Supervisor Prof. Göran Bexell, Dept of Theology. Co-supervisor: Prof. Johanna Esseveld, Dept of Sociology.

PhD thesis awarded the Wallquist-pris (15.000 SEK) in 2000 by Academy of Småland. 

Postdoctoral work

2002-2006 in the project Shared Values? (Sw: Gemensamma värden?). Researchers from Högskolan Dalarna, Stockholm Institute of Education, and CEIFO. Funder: Swedish Research Council, Committee for Educational Sciences.

Qualification for appointment as docent (Associate Professor)

2005, Ethics, Lund University, Sweden.

Academic exams

Bachelor of Arts, (Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology), University of Stockholm, 1976
Bachelor of Arts, (Theology), University of Uppsala, 1984 
Master of Theology, University of Lund, 1996
PhD in Theology, Ethics, University of Lund, 1999
Associate Professor (Docent), Ethics, University of Lund, 2005

Previous positions

2006-2009 Associate Professor (“forskningslektorat”), Educational work, Umeå University.

1999-2006 Assistant/Associate Professor, Ethics, Högskolan Dalarna.

1995-1999 PhD-student, Ethics, Lund University, Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies.

1987-1994 Lecturer, Teologiska Seminariet, Lidingö, Stockholm.

1971-1972, 1975-1978, 1980-1987 – work in NGOs, including work at the Ecumenical Development Week and teaching at a folk-high school.

Present and recent research projects

a) 2019-2022 Swedish Research Council (Dnr 2018-03435): The Child and Curriculum. Existential Questions and Educational Responses. Sporre PI of project.

b) 2019-2021 Swedish Institute for Educational Research: Refining the Ethical Eye and Ethical Voice – The Possibilities and Challenges of a Fiction-based Approach to ethics Education. Sporre project member.

c) 2016-2022 Children, sustainability and hope. Funder: Umeå School of Education. Sporre the sole researcher.  

d) 2015-2018 Swedish Research Council (Dnr 2014-2030): What may be learnt in ethics? Varieties of conceptions of ethical competence to be taught in compulsory school. PI:  Professor Christina Osbeck, Gothenburg University.

e) 2017 – 2019 Politics of Identities, Ethics and Reconciliation (PIER project), Cooperation between Umeå University and University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.

f) 2014-2016 Gender, religion and the public sphere. Umeå School of Education. Sporre the sole researcher.   

g) 2012-2014 In search of human dignity. Umeå School of Education. Sporre the sole researcher.  



Powerful knowledge in religious education: exploring paths to a knowledge-based education on religions, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan 2023 : 21-42
Osbeck, Christina; Sporre, Karin; LIlja, Annika
Etik, berättelser och samtal: att använda skönlitteratur i etikundervisning, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB 2023 : 23-38
Sporre, Karin
Cambridge Journal of Education
Lyngfelt, Anna; Sporre, Karin; Lifmark, David; et al.
Journal of Curriculum Studies, Routledge 2022, Vol. 54, (3) : 367-383
Sporre, Karin
Ethics and Education, Taylor & Francis Group 2022, Vol. 17, (1) : 101-116
Sporre, Karin; Lotz-Sisitka, Heila; Osbeck, Christina
Education in times of climate change, Geneva: Rhodes University 2022 : 96-99
Sporre, Karin; Osbeck, Christina
Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, Karlstads universitet 2022, Vol. 12, (2) : 84-107
Sporre, Karin; Osbeck, Christina; Lilja, Annika; et al.
Skolutveckling i teori och praktik, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB 2021 : 283-291
Lilja, Annika; Franck, Olof; Lifmark, David; et al.
Känsliga frågor, nödvändiga samtal: att lära om och av kontroverser, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB 2021 : 113-128
Sporre, Karin
New directions in religious and values education: international perspectives, Peter Lang Publishing Group 2021 : 251-272
Sporre, Karin
HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, Cape Town: AOSIS 2021, Vol. 77, (3)
Sporre, Karin
Existentiella frågor i barns och ungas liv, Malmö: Föreningen lärare i religionskunskap (FLR) 2020 : 29-39
Lilja, Annika; Buchardt, Mette; Kärnebro, Katarina; et al.
Kvinnligt religiöst ledarskap: En vänbok till Gunilla Gunner, Stockholm: Södertörns högskola 2020 : 219-228
Sporre, Karin
HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, Cape Town: AOSIS 2020, Vol. 76, (1)
Sporre, Karin
Facing the unknown future: religion and education on the move, Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2020 : 195-208
Sporre, Karin; Franck, Olof; LIlja, Annika; et al.
Människan och etiken: välgrundad moral i en polariserad tid., Stockholm: Hjalmarson & Högberg 2019 : 102-118
Sporre, Karin
Human rigths literacies: future directions, Cham: Springer 2019 : v-x
Sporre, Karin
Journal of Curriculum Studies, Routledge 2019, Vol. 51, (2) : 262-278
Sporre, Karin
Education 3-13, Routledge 2018, Vol. 46, (5) : 506-516
Lilja, Annika; Franck, Olof; Osbeck, Christina; et al.
Journal of Beliefs and Values, Routledge 2018, Vol. 39, (2) : 195-208
Osbeck, Christina; Franck, Olof; Lilja, Annika; et al.
Zeitschrift für Pädagogik und Theologie, Walter de Gruyter 2018, Vol. 70, (4) : 397-408
Osbeck, Christina; Franck, Olof; LIlja, Annika; et al.
Religious Diversity and Education in Europe, 37
Challenging life: existential questions as a resource for education, Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2018 : 13-18
Ristiniemi, Jari; Skeie, Geir; Sporre, Karin
Challenging life: existential questions as a resurce for education, Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2018 : 279-296
Sporre, Karin
Values, Human Rights and Religious Education: Contested Grounds, Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing Group 2018 : 257-273
Sporre, Karin
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, Vol. 17, (2) : 108-121
Manni, Annika; Ottander, Christina; Sporre, Karin
Environmental Education Research, Vol. 23, (4) : 451-464
Manni, Annika; Sporre, Karin; Ottander, Christina
Location, space and place in religious education, Münster: Waxmann Verlag 2017 : 49-66
Osbeck, Christina; Sporre, Karin; Skeie, Geir
Assessment in ethics education: a case of national tests in religious education, Cham: Springer 2017 : 115-143
Sporre, Karin
Theological Journal, Tartu, Estonia: Usuteaduslik Ajakiri, Akadeemiline Teoloogia Selts 2016, Vol. 69, (1) : 3-8
Schihalejev, Olga; Sporre, Karin; Skeie, Geir; et al.
Theological Journal, 69:1
Diversity and intersectionality: studies in religion, education and values, Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Group 2016 : 23-47
Sporre, Karin
International Seminar on Religious Education and Values Session XX July-August 2016: Values, Human Rights and Education73
Sporre, Karin
NERA 2016 : Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education, Helsinki, Finland, March 9-11, 2016
Sporre, Karin
ECER, Dublin, Ireland, August 23-26, 2016
Sporre, Karin
Religious diversity and education in Europe, 29
Sporre, Karin
NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, Oslo: NorDina, Naturfagssenteret 2013, Vol. 9, (2) : 187-205
Manni, Annika; Ottander, Christina; Sporre, Karin; et al.
International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, Vol. 3, (1) : 17-35
Manni, Annika; Sporre, Karin; Ottander, Christina
Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, Trondheim: Akademika forlag 2013, Vol. 26, (2) : 175-191
Sporre, Karin
Religionsdidaktisk arbeid pågår: Religionsdidaktikk i Hamar och Karlstad, Vallset: Oplandske Bokforlag 2012 : 51-78
Sporre, Karin
British Journal of Religious Education, Abingdon: Routledge 2012, Vol. 34, (1) : 87-100
Sporre, Karin
Humanistisk forskning 2010: rapport från en utvärdering, Stockholm: Humanistiska fakulteten, Stockholms universitet 2011 : 275-283
Gullberg, Tom; Sporre, Karin
ESERA 2011 CONFERENCE - September 5th-9th 2011 Lyon, Centre de Congrès - France
Manni, Annika; Sporre, Karin; Ottander, Christina
Values, religions and education in changing societies, Springer 2010 : 67-74
Sporre, Karin
International handbook of inter-religious education, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer 2010 : 1017-1035
Sporre, Karin
Values, religions and education in changing societies, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer 2010 : 67-74
Sporre, Karin
Religion & Livsfrågor, Solna: Föreningen Lärare i Religionskunskap 2010, (2) : 6-7
Sporre, Karin
Values, religions and education in changing societies, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New york: Springer 2010 : 1-8
Sporre, Karin; Mannberg, Jan
Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer 2010

Research groups

Group member

Research projects

1 January 2016 until 31 December 2023