Boundaries of Toleration

Religion, Culture, and Public Life, edited by Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor

Taylor_Boundaries of Toleration

How can people of diverse religious, ethnic, and linguistic allegiances and identities live together without committing violence, inflicting suffering, or oppressing each other? In this volume, contributors explore the limits of toleration and suggest we think beyond them to mutual respect. Salman Rushdie reflects on the once tolerant Sufi-Hindu culture of Kashmir. Ira Katznelson follows with an intellectual history of toleration as a layered institution in the West. Charles Taylor advances a new approach to secularism in our multicultural world, and Akeel Bilgrami responds by offering context and caution to that approach. Nadia Urbinati explores why Cicero’s humanist ideal of Concord was not used in response to religious discord. The volume concludes with a refutation of the claim that toleration was invented in the West. Rajeev Bhargava writes on Asoka’s India, and Karen Barkey explores toleration within the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. Sudipta Kaviraj examines accommodations and conflicts in India, and Alfred Stepan highlights contributions to toleration and multiple democratic secularisms in such Muslim-majority countries as Indonesia and Senegal.

“The contributors to this volume open up fertile new ground exploring problems, hypotheses, and recommendations in provocative and original ways. Readers will find the fresh thinking exhibited in these pages eye-opening and mind-expanding.”
Hans Oberdiek, Swarthmore College

“Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor have played a leading role in getting us to rethink the meaning of political secularism, above all to undermine the simplistic notions that secularism means an absolute separation of ‘church and state,’ that this is essential to democracy, and that there is only one institutional template for achieving a secular polity. In this collection of essays, they have assembled a set of contributors who look at the varied ways in which quite different societies, past and present, Western and non-Western, have tried to achieve multireligious coexistence and the role of the state in that process. This is just the kind of historical and theoretical inquiry we need as we work through the challenge of crafting a suitably multiculturalized set of secularisms.”
Tariq Modood, University of Bristol

Alfred Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University. He is the coauthor ofProblems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation and Crafting State Nations and the coeditor ofDemocracy and Islam in Indonesia.

Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University and the author of Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern IdentityModern Social Imaginaries; and A Secular Age. He is a Permanent Fellow at the IWM.

Recent Publications:

  • Die amerikanische Krankheit. Vier Lektionen der Freiheit aus einem US-Hospital

    “Es war schon viel zu leicht, in diesem Land zu sterben, bevor das Coronavirus in die Vereinigten Staaten gelangte. Unser stümperhafter Umgang mit der Pandemie ist das jüngste Symptom unserer Krankheit, einer Politik, die Schmerz und Tod statt Sicherheit und Gesundheit bringt, Profit für einige wenige statt Wohlstand für viele.” Vom Autor des Nr. 1-Bestsellers …
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  • Ist heute schon morgen? Wie die Pandemie Europa verändert

    Ein Virus war nötig, um die Welt auf den Kopf zu stellen. Wie wird die Welt danach aussehen? Ivan Krastev, einer der wichtigsten Intellektuellen der Gegenwart, gibt Orientierung in Zeiten der Ungewissheit. »Es gibt Momente, in denen sich unsere Gewissheiten auflösen und sich unsere kollektive Vorstellung von dem, was möglich ist, dramatisch ändert. Die Menschen beginnen, …
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  • The Postcolonial Age of Migration

    This book critically examines the question of migration that appears at the intersection of global neo-liberal transformation, postcolonial politics, and economy. It analyses the specific ways in which colonial relations are produced and reproduced in global migratory flows and their consequences for labour, human rights, and social justice. The postcolonial age of migration not only …
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  • Tischner. Biografia

    First complete biography of Joseph Tischner Written by Wojciech Bonowicz, Józef Tischner Visiting Fellow at the IWM in 2020 „Ktoś mi kiedyś powiedział, że jak Tischner wchodził do pokoju, to jakby się drzwi otwierały w człowieku. Drzwi się otwierały – i żyć się chciało. Każdy z nas nosi w sobie pragnienie, że przyjdzie taki ktoś, …
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  • Österreichische Identitäten im Wandel.

    Wie andere nationale Identitäten werden auch österreichische Identitäten über eine Vielzahl von Diskursen hergestellt und verhandelt, darunter Debatten über relevante, manchmal kontroversielle politische, historische, juristische Fragen. Diese Identitätsentwürfe erweisen sich als dynamisch und veränderlich. Fünf inhaltliche Schwerpunkte ergeben sich aus der Analyse: die Konstruktion des Homo Austriacus/der Femina Austriaca, einer gemein-samen Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft …
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