The History and Politics of Secularism

This is the second conference in a series of four developed as part of the multiyear project titled “Public Religion, the Secular, and Democracy: An International Crossdisciplinary Project.” Funded by the Ford Foundation, the project is designed to deepen understanding of the varieties and politics of secularism and the public role of religion, focusing on France, India, Turkey, and the U.S.

The project and this conference seek to chart new pathways for moving past the stereotypes and polarizations now stalking this topic. A comparative and crossdisciplinary approach is intended to provide the space for fresh thinking and a global perspective on these issues. The project asks what new analytic terms and frameworks are needed to account for the shifting relations between religion and the secular? Going beyond tropes of culture wars and clashing civilizations, what new narratives can and should be told? In short, the conference aims to stimulate reflection on the shifting historical and contemporary alignments or divisions between religion and the secular; to facilitate comparative insight across national cases; and to explore the analytic and normative challenges that have newly arisen regarding religion, the secular, and democratic public life.

Charles Taylor "Western Secularity"
Markus Dressler "Debating Secularism in Turkey: Public/Private Distinctions, the Alevi Question, and the Headscarf"
E. Fuat Keyman "Secularisms, Democracy and Islam in Turkey"
Ayse Kadioglu "Secularization as a Westernizing Project in Turkey: The Role of the Appearances of Women"
Meyda Yegenoglu Response
Jean Bauberot "The Evolution of Secularism in France: Between Two Civil Religions"
James Morone "Sacred and Secular in American Politics"
Michael Warner "Sex and Secularity"
Rajeev Bhargava "The Secular Ideal in India: Cultural Presupposiitions and Background Conditions of its Emergence"
T.N. Madan "Indian Secularism: A Religio-Secular Ideal"
José Casanova "Modes of Political Secularism and Regimes of Religious Pluralism"
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd "Theorizing Religious Resurgence"
Peter van der Veer "'Smash Temples, Build Schools': Comparing Secularism in India and China"
Yolande Jansen "Security Secularism and Public Reason Secularism: Have Contemporary Debates on Secularism Shifted Focus?"
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im "The State Cannot Be Islamic, What Does Being Secular Mean?"
John Milbank "A Closer Walk on the Wild Side: Some Comments on Charles Taylor's 'A Secular Age'"
John Carlson "Defending the Secular from its Secularist Critics: The Moral Realm of Belief and Unbelief"