At the end of our last post (an extension of our discussions at the IWM Summer School in Cortona), we asked whether secularism and liberalism in fact always go together, as is often supposed. In our second round of Skype conversations, we began to address this question by discussing a related one: to what degree are liberalism and privatized religion necessary for democracy? This discussion was inspired by our IWM course on “Religion and Democracy,” taught by José Casanova and Marcin Krol, which drew on examples of democratic societies to examine the variety of roles that public religion and liberalism, respectively, play in enhancing or inhibiting democratic life.Read the rest of Skyping secularism: Religion and democracy.
Thomas Alberts is a Ph.D. candidate in the Study of Religions Department at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he researches genealogies of shamanism and categories of indigeneity in the study of religions. Thomas was previously a research associate at the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (University of Cape Town), during which time he also published on South African political history, human rights, and legacies of apartheid.
Posts by Thomas Alberts:
Since our previous dispatch from the IWM Summer School in Cortona, we have settled back into our real lives in London, New York, and Washington, DC, respectively. But the discussions inspired by the summer school have continued—over email and group chats—and we wanted to share with you one recent exchange that followed from our course on “Religion and Multiple Modernities,” taught by Dipesh Chakrabarty, Sudipta Kaviraj, and Charles Taylor. The course drew on examples from European and Indian history that prompted us to think about the relation between modernity (a concept that itself was called into question) and secularism.Read the rest of Skyping secularism: Religion and multiple modernities.