Contested Secularities – a Global Scenario
14 October 2023, 3:30 p.m.
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall
Beethovenstraße 6, 04107 Leipzig
The interest in distinctions and differentiations between religion and the secular – which we call secularity – is not merely academic. It touches deeply on societal struggles and sometimes even goes along with culture wars. This often concerns the relationship between the state and religion. However, everyday life, the family, education, science, and a variety of cultural spheres can also become battlegrounds.
The contestations can originate from different sides: From a secularist state, like China, questioning the autonomy of religious life and its public presence. Recent developments in France, particularly regarding the wearing of certain Muslim garments in public, also point in this direction. It was this constellation of an – more or less – authoritarian secularist state that postcolonial and other critical approaches have focused on. However, during the last decades and sometimes longer, we have been confronted with a different constellation in many places around the world: an intermingling between the state and the dominant religion which goes against the maintenance of the boundaries of private life and the family, the possibility of free speech and political critique, the autonomy of culture, but also the freedom of minority religions. We can observe this in Turkey, in India, and – with utmost violence against the civil society – in Iran. But we can also see it in Russia and other Eastern European countries in their intermingling of orthodoxy and nationalism, as well as in parts of the United States, for example in cases of severe religious intervention into school curricula or women’s reproductive rights. And most recently, accompanied by huge civil society protests, we see it in Israel, where radical Jewish groups are trying to impose a Jewish religious agenda on society.
The panel will bring these different cases together to discuss them in comparison and relate them to the academic debate.
This panel discussion is the closing session of our conference Eight Years CASHSS "Multiple Secularities": Outcome and Prospects through the Eyes of our Interlocutors. We are looking forward to meet you at the conference, please register via email@example.com.