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Literary Festival 2014: Understanding the World: religious and secular perspectives


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Speaker(s): Dr Arthur Bradley, Kenan Malik
Chair: Dr Danielle Sands

Recorded on 1 March 2014 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

Sensationalist accounts of the relationship between religion and secularism tend to depict the two as locked in combat, profoundly incompatible in their worldviews. By addressing the concept of ‘Christian Europe’, this discussion will explore the connections between the Christian legacy and the Enlightenment values which underpin secularism. In so doing, it will aim to provide both a more nuanced account of the relationship between religion and secularism, and a clearer sense of how religious and secular approaches inflect our experience and understanding of the world.

Arthur Bradley is a reader in comparative literature in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University. His research interests are in contemporary literature, critical and cultural theory and religion. In 2009/10, he was a visiting professor at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and in 2013 he is a visiting fellow at Durham University. In 2013, he helped to establish the Northern Critical Theory School, which brings together researchers working in the field of critical and cultural theory at the universities of Lancaster, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, York and others. His books include The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic after 9/11 and Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida.

Kenan Malik (@kenanmalik) is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster. He is a presenter of Analysis, BBC Radio 4's flagship current affairs programme and a panellist on the Moral Maze. He has written and presented a number of radio and TV documentaries including Disunited Kingdom, Are Muslims Hated?, Islam, Mullahs and the Media, Skullduggery and Man, Beast and Politics. His books include From Fatwa to Jihad, Strange Fruit, Man, Beast and Zombie, and The Meaning of Race. His latest book, to be published in April 2014, is The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics.

This event forms part of LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

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