In its research, the Profile Area builds on the university's interdisciplinary networks, organized in several research centers that together form the profile of Frankfurt as a research location. They include the Center for Interdisciplinary African Studies (ZIAF), which also acts as an interface with the natural and social sciences; the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO), another interface with the social sciences; the Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre (FzHG), offering a common platform for research initiatives of Goethe University faculties 6-10; or the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in Bad Homburg (FKH), Goethe University's Institute for Advanced Studies and a place for debate and dialogue on processes of transformation in social reality in the age of globalization and digitalization. Other centers – some of which also have an international character – are currently being established. Prime among them is the "Frankfurt-Tel Aviv Center for the Study of Religious and Interreligious Dynamics", jointly managed with Tel Aviv University, which strategically connects interdisciplinary religious research (with a focus on Judaism, Christianity and Islam) at both locations.
The research focus "Dynamics of Religion: Processes of Comprehension, Misapprehension, and Mutual Understanding" exemplifies the cooperation and discussion between the disciplines within this Profile Area. It brings Christian theologies, religious studies, Jewish studies and Islamic studies together with history, philosophy, ethnology, or archaeology. By means of interdisciplinary and interreligious explorations, the focus lies on researching in both historical and contemporary global contexts the mutual relations and perceptions – dialogical or conflictual – between the three inherently diverse religions "Judaism", "Christianity" and "Islam" (and between them and the increasingly secular constellations of modern and contemporary plural societies). Key to this question and in this context are the complex processes of "comprehension," "misapprehension," and "mutual understanding". The participants' research perspectives are connected, among others, by a common interest in (1) the conceptual and historical research of the dialogical and conflictual aspects of mutual processes of understanding between religious traditions; (2) the phenomena of understanding one's own religion and the religious other in multi-religious and secular contexts, (3) the relationship between intra-religious and inter-religious plurality, (4) the attribution of cultural identities to the self and to others in the area of cult and ritual, (5) the socio-cultural dynamics and economic contexts of the encounter between ethnic and religious groups, (6) the interreligious dynamics of cultural transfer, translation, appropriation, and transformation of religious-cultural knowledge orders, (7) phenomena of destructive or creative misunderstandings, and (8) the rational, emotional, and political-social conditions of the possibility for religious dialogues and understanding, or (9) the transformation of religious, cultural, and social discourses through the increasing digitality of both research and public communication. The idea behind establishing a "Competence Center Religion" is to systematically develop the potentials of the participating disciplines in the fields of science communication, transfer and science policy.
The Profile Area "Universality and Diversity" aims to strengthen the existing networks between the research carried out by different disciplines, joint projects and centers, as well as between individual Goethe University projects that deal with the above-mentioned research topics through joint forms of working and discussion forums, thereby profiling the different disciplinary approaches on historical questions and current debates in the fields of society and culture, and simultaneously exploiting their mutual synergies. At the same time, the Profile Area intends to cooperate closely with the "Orders & Transformations" Profile Area, whose research perspectives are greatly important to the topics of diversity and universality. The approaches of religious studies, history, cultural studies, linguistics, and literature in turn offer important cooperation possibilities for the social sciences. Likewise, a dialogue with the Profile Area "Sustainability & Biodiversity" will set out to find how cultural and biological diversity relate to one another, and how diversity research in the humanities and the natural sciences can learn from each other. Key to the Profile Area's work are joint strategies for the internationalization of research and teaching, the systematic promotion of early career researchers, and further strengthening the city of Frankfurt as a center of science through the acquisition of third-party funded projects.