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Eight Years CASHSS "Multiple Secularities"

Outcome and Prospects through the Eyes of our Interlocutors

Leipzig University

12–14 October 2023

Convenors: Christoph Kleine and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr

The occasion of this conference is to mark the end of the eight-year funding period (2016-2024) of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences “Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities” next year. Over the course of these eight years, dozens of fellows from various countries and different disciplines who work on a diverse range of regions and historical focuses have helped us tremendously to discuss, reflect and sharpen our concept of multiple secularities, to underpin it empirically and to theorise it more thoroughly. We are extremely grateful for this highly productive exchange. We want to get together once again with our interlocutors and discuss what has been achieved, to celebrate the encounters made here, and the community that this project has enabled with colleagues worldwide.

The main objective of the final conference is to take stock. The directors of the centre, Monika and Christoph, will thereby review the outcome of our collaboration and outline prospects for future research. The conference will therefore not primarily focus on the presentation of new empirical findings. This time our guiding question is not what our interlocutors can do for us, but rather, what have we done for them and their research?

•    How was it influenced through encounters at our centre and the discussions of the concept of multiple secularities?

•    Was the concept helpful and applicable for specific research contexts?

•    Have perspectives on specific research objects changed as a result of applying the concept of multiple secularities?

•    What are the limits of relating the project to other approaches?

•   Is there a need for a revision or extension of the multiple secularities approach?

Besides discussing these questions, we would also like to take the opportunity to get together once more and exchange ideas about possible future cooperation and perspectives on possibilities for follow-up projects that can build on the multiple secularities project and might benefit from it.

Finally, in light of the recurring question of the normativity of research on secularities, we would like to address directly contemporary political conflicts and the ways in which they contest and challenge the secular-religious arrangements that we heuristically call secularities.

We are looking forward to meet  you  at the conference, participation via Zoom will also be possible, please register via

Programme (as of 11 October)

You can download the full PDF booklet with all the abstracts and additional information here.

Please note that we had to make some last-minute changes to the programme (Panels I, II and IV). You can find the updated programme below and on the notice boards on site. The changes are unfortunately not included in the booklet, you can download an updated overview


Bibliotheca Albertina (Beethovenstraße 6, 04107 Leipzig)
GWZ (Beethovenstraße 15, 04107 Leipzig)
Alte Handelsbörse
(Naschmarkt 1, 04109 Leipzig)

Thursday, 12 October 2023

7 p.m.
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Keynote Lecture & Reception
The Normative Status of Secularity and Islamic Genealogies of Worldliness
Reinhard Schulze (Bern University)

Friday, 13 October 2023

9 - 10:30 a.m.

Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Opening Panel
Christoph Kleine & Monika Wohlrab-Sahr

Farhat Hasan (Delhi University)
Daniel Witte (Bonn University / KFG "Multiple Secularities")

11 a.m - 1 p.m.

Panel I
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Secularity and Modernity

Chair: Magnus Echtler (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

  • Secularities contra Positivism: A Scoreboard
    Neguin Yavari (New York)
  • Multiple Secularities and Pre-adaptive Advances to Modernity: A Perspective of Social Emergence
    Dietrich Jung (University of Southern Denmark)
  • Religion and the Constitution of the Modern — An Analysis of the Views of Tagore and Ambedkar
    Rinku Lamba (National Law School of India University)

Panel II
GWZ, Lecture Hall

Conceptual Explorations of the Multiple Secularities Framework

Chair: Daniel Witte (Bonn University)

  • Multiple Secularities' Conceptual Framework and the Study of Islamic Secularities: Conceptual and Critical Considerations
    Housamedden Darwish (Cologne University)
  • The Multiple Secularity Approach as a Middle-Range Cultural Theory: Interpreting the Secular State Project on Madagascar, and Beyond.
    Peter Kneitz (Leipzig)
  • Using and Rethinking Multiple Secularities in Latin America: Analyzing and Historicizing the Secular Subject/s.
    Edgar Zavala-Pelayo (El Colegio de México)

1 - 2 p.m.
GWZ, Foyer

2 - 4 p.m.


Panel III
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

(Post-)Ottoman Secularities

Chair: Mohammad Magout (University of Zurich)

  • The Religionization of Din in the Late Ottoman Period
    Markus Dreßler (Leipzig University)
  • Negotiating Secularity: Post-Ottoman Muslims in Bosnia 1878-2020
    Wolfgang Höpken (KFG "Multiple Secularities")
  • Rethinking the Religious History of Turkey and Alevis through the Concept of "Multiple Secularities"
    Gökçen Beyinli-Dinç (Hamburg University)

Panel IV
GWZ, Lecture Hall

Multiple Trajectories

Chair: Johannes Duschka (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

  • Multiple Secularisms in Colonial India
    Vanya Vaidehi Bhargav (ICAS:M.P., New Delhi)
  • What Does “Religio-Political” Even Mean? The Diachronic Perspective on Bhutan as an Empirical and Theoretical Case Study
    Dagmar Schwerk (Leipzig University) 
  • Secularization and Doubt in Buddhist Societies
    Sven Bretfeld (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Panel V
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Multiple Secularities and Global Histories

Chair: Elisabeth Marx (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

  • Multiple Secularities and „Global Religious History“: Recent Innovations in the German Study of Religion
    Adrian Hermann (Bonn University) 
  • Multiple Secularities, The Task of Comparative Political Theory and the Trend of Global History: A View from India
    Sushmita Nath (Ashoka Univers
  • Conceptual History and Multiple Secularities: The Global Diffusion of Arguments from Epistemes/Ontologies/Worldviews Todd Weir (University of Groningen)

Panel VI
GWZ, Lecture Hall

Secularities: Beyond Modernity?

Chair: Katja Triplett (Leipzig University)

  • Situating Medicine and Religion in Asia

    Michael Stanley-Baker (Nanyang Technological University)

  • History of Religious Coexistence in India
    Rajeev Bhargava (Parekh Institute of Indian Thought)

  • Signs of Secularity in Latin America
    Roberto Blancarte (El Colegio de México)

7:30 p.m.
Alte Handelsbörse

Get-Together & Reception

Saturday, 14 October 2023

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Panel VII
Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Modes of Secularity: Performativity, Materiality, Affectivity

Chair: Marian Burchardt (Leipzig University)

  • From Gestural Communication of the Religious and Secular to Functional Amalgam of the Religious and Secular
    Augustine Agwuele (Texas State University)
  • How to make a Zulu King
    Magnus Echtler (KFG "Multiple Secularities")
  • Materiality and Secularity
    Birgit Meyer (Utrecht University)
  • An Affective Material Approach to Multiple Secularities
    Nur Yasemin Ural (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Panel VIII
GWZ, Lecture Hall

Thinking Beyond Multiple Secularities

Chair: Yee Lak Elliot Lee (Leipzig University)

  • Beyond the concept. Research agenda based on the heuristic potential of Multiple Secularities
    Juan Cruz Esquivel (CONICET / Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  • From Multiple Secularities to Social Welfare - Beyond the West, and Beyond Modernities
    André Laliberté (University of Ottawa)
  • Possible Futures for Multiple Secularities Research
    Jason Josephson Storm (Williams College)

12 - 1 p.m.
GWZ, Foyer

1 - 3 p.m.

Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall
Panel IX

Secularity and Governance

Chair: Nur Yasemin Ural (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

  • Nonreligion in a Complex Future: Rethinking the Secular, Secularism and Secularity
    Lori Beaman (University of Ottawa)
  • Multiple Secularities, Secularism and the Specters of Race
    Marian Burchardt (Leipzig University)
  • Multiple Secularities, Post-Coloniality, and the Indian Conundrum
    Anindita Chakrabarti (IIT Kanpur)

3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Bibliotheca Albertina, Lecture Hall

Panel Discussion: Contested Secularities - A Global Scenario