Second Annual Conference

Critical examinations of secularism and secularity play a key role in current debates in the social sciences on the predicament of contemporary societies. In this context, scholars have moved beyond the critique of secularization and modernization theories to investigate the multiple reinterpretations of secularity and their normative implications. While it is clear that the transformations and the rethinking of secularity are critically shaped by processes of globalization and civilizational encounters, such issues have to a great extent been unaddressed.

In this conference, we further the debate on secularism and secularity by focusing on the challenges arising from globalization and different forms of interconnectedness. Discussing these challenges from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, the conference addresses, amongst other topics, path dependencies and their transformations; vernacular secularities and the vexing question of translatability and interculturality; the usefulness of the "Multiple Modernities"-approach; as well as the complex interfaces between secularism, colonialism and post-colonial culture. Concentrating on European post-communist societies, East Asia, Africa, the Arab World, India and the West, the multiple understandings and interpretations of the secular are explored. In this context, the conference reflects upon the many ways in which interconnectedness has reshaped the role of major religious traditions as well as the various forms in which they interact in attempts to secularize societies and the state.

The conference is based upon the cooperation between the Centre for Area Studies at the University of Leipzig, which brings together the many disciplines examining different world regions under the global condition, and the recently founded Centre for the Study of Religion (CSR) at the University of Leipzig, which focuses on comparative studies of the role of religions worldwide as well as a project on "Multiple Secularities" funded by the Saxon State Ministry for Science and the Arts.