The Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University will hold its inaugural conference entitled Global Secularisms in New York City from November 15-16, 2013. The announcement reads:
From a global perspective, Western secularism, and for example the American debate regarding the separation of church and state, appear as very parochial issues. Secularism is a vexed topic with global implications and consequences, affecting virtually every part of the world, every nation state and every culture. Questions related to secularism have become increasingly urgent and involve enormous real-world implications. From the emergence of the “new atheism,” to battles over “shariah law” in Europe and the Middle East, to the reemergence of religion in the politics of India, to battles over the authority of science in the United States, to struggles both intellectual and political over the shape of the public sphere, the question of secularism proves critical.
Some scholars question the assumption that the modern social order is undergoing, or indeed has ever undergone, the process of secularization; others hold that we have entered a post-secular era. Still others associate secularism with western cultural, social, economic or political hegemony. And on the other hand, some thinkers insist that secularism is the only possible means of negotiating sectarian strife and establishing and maintaining a democratic state. Equating secularism with the rejection of the transcendent, secular humanists insist that secularism is the best way to achieve real human flourishing. Yet the very meanings of the words “secularism” and “religion” have been questioned. The history of secularism — and the word should be made plural — helps define the crises of our moment. This conference returns to these issues, in the light of these recent discussions and of recent events that are having serious effects on the way we live now, on the shape of global politics and culture for the immediate future.
Find more information about the conference and submission deadlines here.