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Stefan Gelfgren is the director of Humlab and Associate Professor in Sociology of Religion at Humlab, Umeå University. He has a PhD in the History of Ideas from Umeå University, a MPhil in the History of Christianity from Birmingham University, UK, and a BA in construction engineering. The position is mainly shared between the directorship and research but also includes some teaching.
Gelfgren´s primary research interest concerns the relation between social, technical and religious transformations - today and throughout history. During the last years he has conducted some case based research studies on the use and effect of digital media within Christian churches and denominations. He is interested in digital and social media in relation to power representatives and institutional structures.
His PhD thesis from 2003 deals with the Swedish confessional revivalist movement Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen (EFS, 'The Swedish Evangelical Mission Society') between 1856-1910. The tension between revivalism, modernity and secularisation are concepts used to interpret what happened during the period.
In 2017 Gelfgren was granted a research project (as PI), by the Wallenberg foundation, on so called soft surveillance (iAccept: Soft surveillance - between acceptance and resistance). He has also been involved in a research project on social media and disability (2016-2018), led by professor Lotta Vikström (Experiences of disabilities in life and online: Life course perspectives on disabled people from past society to present).
Gelfgren is also part of the Strategic Environmental Archeological Database project, led by assoc. prof. Phil Buckland. During 2016-2018 he is part of the European Bible Belt network, founded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, via Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Between 2010 and 2013 he was working within the project Pinocchio goes to Church: The religious life of avatars (financed by the Swedish Research Council, and lead by professor Jørgen Straarup), focusing on churches in virtual worlds.
Apart from the directorship he has other administrative duties. Currently he is part of the Council for Research Infrastructures at The Swedish Research Council. He is also member of the board of DIGSUM (Digital Social Research Unit Umeå) and the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts, both Umeå University.
Other boards and networks he participates in are the International Advisory Board of the Centre for Communication and Computing, University of Copenhagen, the steering group for the research network Religious History of the North (REHN) and the board of the Theology foundation, Umeå university. He represent the Faculty of Arts in Umeå University's steering group for Interactive Environments.
Teaching and publications
I have taught courses within Church History, Digital Humanities, History of Technology, History of Ideas and Religious Studies.
He has published books, articles in books and journals, mainly on the relation between social and religious changes within the Christian sphere from the 16th century until today and also published on Digital Humanities, revivalism, adult education, pedagogy and digital media. See list of publications.