Modes of Secularism and Religious Responses II

Thursday, 10 June 2010, 1:30pm - Saturday, 12 June 2010, 1:00pm, Palais Clam Gallas

Conference Program

Thursday, June 10, 2010
1:30 pm Welcome and Introduction
Charles Taylor, Professor of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal and Permanent Fellow, IWM
2:00 pm – 5:30 pm Session I
Analogues of Secularization and Associated Religious Developments Outside the West
The session will take the work of Dipesh Chakrabarty as a starting point, exploring – from the basis of a common Western theory – the mutual intrication of “modernity”, meaning a personally committed, disenchanted and disciplined religion, and a (eventually also nonreligious) way of life. The political order is in turn conceived as an order of such “reformed” individuals. Chakrabarty argues that this aspect of modern “reform” has failed in India, not indeed with certain elites, but with the great majority of people. Nehru’s vision of the future thus seems dead. Nevertheless, some of the institutions of “modernity” have developed, most notably democracy, on quite different terms. All this can be understood on the basis of a rather different axial change underlying Indian civilization.
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College, University of Chicago
Chris Hann, Director, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle
Sudipta Kaviraj, Professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, New York
Chair: Charles Taylor
6:30 pm
Open for the public!
Panel Discussion:
Religion and Violence
Faisal Devji raises interesting and partly disturbing points in his recent book The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics (2009): He discusses the relation of contemporary jihadism to the notion of humanity as a unified whole, which is central to humanitarian action today. This in turn raises issues about the importance of the notion of “bare life”, the securing of which is often the aim of humanitarian action, and about the eclipse of agency which “bare life” carries with it. The notion of sacrifice in contemporary jihadism and its complex relations to Gandhi are also worthy of exploration.
Veena Das, Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Faisal Devji, Professor of History, Oxford University
Dilip Gaonkar, Director, Center for Global Culture and Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston
Chair: Charles Taylor
Friday, June 11, 2010
9:30 am – 1:00 pm Session II:
Comparative Regimes of Secularism
Analysis and discussion of comparative regimes of secularism was begun with Tariq Modood, Rajeev Bhargava and others at the IWM’s first Religion & Secularism conference in 2009. It should be expanded further, drawing on Alfred Stepan and the group of scientists he is gathering at Columbia University.
Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi
José Casanova, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University ; Head, Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
AIfred C. Stepan, Director, Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion, Columbia University
Chair: Nilüfer Göle, Director, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Centre d’analyse et d’intervention sociologiques (CADIS), Paris
2:30 pm – 6:00 pm Session III:
Defining and Re-defining Secularity and the Secular
What exactly we mean by “secularity” and the “secular” asks for a continuous exploration. There is still much confusion and contradictory thinking on these terms. The exposition of Craig Calhoun, which he delivered at the conference “Modes of Secularism and Religious Responses” in June 2009, can be taken as a starting point.
2:30 pm – 6:00 pm Craig Calhoun, Professor of Sociology, University of New York; President of the Social Science Research Council, New York
John Milbank, Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham
Chair: David Martin, Professor emeritus of Sociology, London School of Economics
Saturday, June 12, 2010
9:30 am – 1:00 pm Session IV:
Christianity, Modernity and the Secular
In the usual understanding, modernity brings on secularization, which involves a decline in religion in general, including Christianity. But the relations between these three terms are much more complex, and very varied; so that Christianity can be a driver of modernity, and related to the secular in its own way.
Webb Keane, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Detlef Pollack, Professor of Sociology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Michael Warner, Seymour H. Knox Professor of English, Professor of American Studies, English Department Chair, Yale University, New Haven
Chair: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston
1:00 pm End of Conference

With friendly support of Institut Français, the Renner Institut and Die Presse