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Secularisms in crisis

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Speaker(s): Professor John Bowen
Chair: Dr Simon Glendinning

Recorded on 2 February 2010 in New Theatre, East Building.

During the 1980s people living in Europe and North America took cognizance of two major developments in religion and public life. Islam assumed a more prominent role both in majority Muslim societies and in societies of relatively recent residence. And forms of Christianity took on greater public roles in much of the West. These parallel developments have given rise to interrogations on many fronts: concerning the nature of secularism, the proper role of religious commitments in liberal democracies, and the accommodations required for Islam to assume its new role in those democracies. Confusion reigns over how to understand claims made in the name of Islam, or for that matter those made in the name of laïcité, toleration, or multiculturalism. This series of three lectures attempts to address some of these issues from a perspective that is anthropological, political-theoretic, and comparative.

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