Peter van der Veer, Max Planck Institute: "Keeping the Muslims Out”
Secularism and the Citizen in The Middle East and South Asia.
Session three: Scholarship on secularism in the Middle East and South Asia has been radically transformed in the last decade, and continues to be one of the most innovative and creative, as well as challenging, areas of inquiry. It has become apparent that we are talking about multiple ways of constituting and imagining secularism, and that recognition of historical context and diversity is essential. We no longer use Western Europe as a yardstick, or even speak of secularism as a uniform phenomenon, instead we have moved to exploring the diversity of secularisms in a wide variety of social, cultural and historical contexts. Scholarship increasingly probes ways in which secularisms are constructed in interaction with new understandings of religion and expressions of religiosity, the redefinition of ‘public’ and ‘private,’ ideas of citizenship, and individual subjectivities.
The aim of this conference is twofold. First, to bring together some of the formative theorists of secularism from a variety of disciplines (political science, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, history) to enable dialogue with them about their existing scholarship; and secondly, to hear from these scholars about where their research is headed.
Recorded in Swift Hall on February 28, 2014.