SECULARISMS AND THE FORMATIONS OF RELIGION IN ASIA:
PLURALISM, GLOBALIZATION, MODERNITIES
Prof. Peter Beyer
University of Ottawa
Prof. Peter van der Veer
Max Plank Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
29 Feb. – 1 Mar. 2016
Nanyang Technological University
Global Asia Research Cluster,
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU
In recent years there has been growing academic and public interest in the global “resurgence” of religion around the world. This has in turn stimulated scholarly debates concerning “secularism” and its conceptual imbrication with notions such as modernity, the public sphere, multiculturalism, governance, citizenship and global civil society. Some have even envisioned the desecularization of the world or the coming of the “post-secular” era. Against this backdrop this conference will focus on the complex interactions between politics of secularism and changing religious expressions across contemporary Asia, especially how the “secular” and “religious” have mutually defined and shaped each other in diverse social, cultural and political settings. Inter-disciplinary studies on “the secular” have contributed to better scholarly understanding of not only the rise of the category of religion, but also the different transformations of the religious sphere in modern times. However, a dominant thread in existing scholarship tends to focus on how the majority of contemporary societies in Asia have reacted and responded to Western versions of secularism through colonial encounters.
This workshop seeks to go beyond this action-reaction model, and to examine the ways in which societies in Asia have been active contributors to the global engagement with, and formulation of, different expressions of secularism and the “religious”. Whether through accepting, appropriating or resisting secularism as a result of colonial experiences, or through elaborating and promoting their own versions of secularism, societies in Asia have diversely defined their various traditions as “religion”, “civilization”, “spirit” or “magic/cult/superstition” in their respective colonial and postcolonial contexts. In this conference, we will particularly examine how the interactions between forms of secularism and religious discourses and traditions have in Asian societies contributed to the rise of nation-states, transformed the religious terrains and reformulated the modern functional systems such as legal, financial and educational institutions.
We are pleased to provide meals and accommodation for presenters during the conference period. Partial subsidies for travel expenses might be available depending on funding availability and on a case-by-case basis. We intend to publish selected papers from the conference as a journal special issue and/or as an edited volume with a reputable academic press.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
1.Deadline: Please submit your proposal with title and an abstract of not more than 350 words, together with your name, title, institutional affiliation and email address by 13th July, 2015.
2.Submission method: Send in MS Word via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3.Final papers: Paper presenters are requested to submit full papers by 8th February, 2016.Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or clarification regarding this workshop.
Convenors: Associate Professor Francis Lim
Dr Kyuhoon Cho