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Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences


Working with A Secular Age – Interdisciplinary Reflections on Charles Taylor’s Conception of the Secular | 5 - 8 March 2014

Keynote speakers
Jonathan VanAntwerpen
Reinhard Schulze
Richard Amesbury

Since its publication in 2007, Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age has been generating a lively discussion. Understandably so:
In his seminal work, the Canadian philosopher aims at nothing less than a re-telling of the (hi)story of the secular. While some enthusiastically welcomed A Secular Age as a breakthrough in the ongoing reconfiguration of secularity, others pointed to certain weaknesses and limitations of Taylor’s work. Moving one step beyond general appraisal and the already existing and important critique of A Secular Age, this conference aims at exploring the applicability (and its limits) of Taylor’s conception of the secular.
Participants’ common goal will be to critically reflect on the general potential of Taylor’s conception for individual disciplines. In their presentations, scholars working within the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Sociology, History, Religious Studies, Islamic and Middleeastern Studies, Political Science, Social Anthropology, Literature and Art will tackle the following questions concerning their respective discipline: Which aspects and assumptions of Taylor’s work can be adopted easily; when does a need for translation and transformation arise; and where are the barriers of disciplinary understandings, approaches and traditions too large to be overcome? Next to these theoretical considerations, participants will have the opportunity to present their completed or current research projects, which in one way or another integrate, modify or built upon a specific theoretical aspect or a phenomenological finding brought forward in A Secular Age.

Registration: form (by 03 March 2014)
Information on travel, hotel and conference locations: pdf

Contact: Florian Zemmin (main organizer) mail

Programme (incl. abstracts): conference booklet pdf


Conference booklet: pdf

Wednesday, March 5
17.00 Registration (Uni Main Building, 120)
18.15-19:45 Keynote Jonathan VanAntwerpen:
Standing in the Open Space: Secularity, Doxa, and the Immanent Frame | pdf

Thursday, March 6
8.30 Registration (Hallerstr. 6, 205)
9.00 Welcome Address

9.40-10.30 Science of Religion I
Chair: Jens Schlieter | bio
Marian Burchardt: Multiple Secularities: From Conditions of Belief to Forms of Distinction | pdf
Joseph Blankholm: Beyond the Subtraction Story: Secular Religion and Other Hybrids | pdf

10.30 Coffee

11.00-12.15 Science of Religion II
Jonathan A. Lanman: Charles Taylor and the Cognitive Science of Religion | pdf
Stefan Nadile: Talking about the Other Side of Life | pdf
Response by Jens Schlieter

12.15-13.15 Lunch

13.15-15.00 Sociology/Social Anthropology
Chair: Jörg Stolz | bio
Lotta-Liina Mustonen: Secular Socialization in a Muslim Context | pdf
Fernande Pool: Charles Taylor in India: Reflections on Bengali Muslims, Dharma and the Secular | pdf
Mahiye Secil Dagtas: Heterogeneous Encounters: Tolerance, Secularism and Religious Difference at Turkey’s Border with Syria | pdf
Response by Jörg Stolz

15.00-15.30 Coffee

15.30-17.45 Political Theologies
Chair: Torsten Meireis | bio
Arno Haldemann: Swiss 19th-Century Reformed and Catholic Sermons within an Immanent Frame | pdf
Tim Stacey: Putting Political Theology into Dialogue with Political Science: Lessons from Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age | pdf
Joyce Dalsheim: Other Moral Orders, Other Sovereignties in Israel/Palestine | pdf
Peter Lintl: Jewish Orthodoxy in A Secular Age: Some Paradoxes of Politicization | pdf
Response by Torsten Meireis

18.15-19:45 (University Main Building, 120)
Keynote Richard Amesbury
Religion and Secularity beyond A Secular Age | pdf

Friday, March 7
9.30-11.30 Philosophy
Chair: Enno Rudolph | bio
Thomas A. Carlson: Secular Moods: Exploring Temporality and Affection with A Secular Age | pdf
Samuel Shearn: Charles Taylor as a Resource for Theological Responses to Nietzsche | pdf
Willie van der Merwe: Social Imaginaries and Intercultural/-religious Encounters in Secular Societies | pdf

11.30-13 Lunch

13-14.45 Political Philosophy
Chair: Markus Stepanians | bio
Guido Vanheeswijck: The Ambiguity of Post-Secular and Post-Metaphysical Stories | pdf
Aurélia Bardon: Public Justification in a Secular Age | pdf
Pascal Hämmerli:
The Rise of a Fundamentalist Secular State? | pdf
Response by Markus Stepanians

14.45-15.15 Coffee

15.15-17.30 Islamic Studies
Chair: Frank Peter | bio

Sara Merdian: Homogeneity and Secularity - A Controversial Relationship? | pdf
Stephanie Wright:
‘This Mahometan Opinion’: Islam and the Christianisation of Secularism in Seventeenth-Century France | pdf
Junaid Quadri:
Religion-as-transcendence in Modern Islam | pdf
Johannes Stephan: The Social Imaginary of Culture/Cvilization in the Arabic Literary Tradition | pdf
Response by Frank Peter

18.15 Keynote Reinhard Schulze:
A Secular Age beyond the West | pdf

19.45 Dinner for all invited participants

Saturday, March 8
9.30-10.30 Literature and Art I
Chair: Daniel Weidner | pdf 
Zoë Lehmann Imfeld: The Porous World of the Victorian Ghost Story | pdf
Christopher Jenkins: Freud, Fundamentalism, and Reflexive Faith: Cross-Pressure in Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away | pdf

10.30 Coffee

11.00-12.30 Literature and Art II
Colin Jager: Reform, the Buffered Self, and the Subtler Languages: A View from Literary Studies | pdf
Oane Reitsma: Musical Works as ‘Higher Times’: Concert Culture in a Secular Age | pdf
Response by Daniel Weidner

Post conference
14.00-15.30 Discussing a publication of the conference papers


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