Religion and Secularism Network

Ekklesia Staff


The Religion and Secularism Network is coordinating a programme of lectures and workshops taking place at the University of Cambridge and elsewhere - aiming to clarify the relationship between the state and religion conceptually and empirically. It is funded under the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Workshop. It is coordinated by David Lehmann, John Barber, Humeira Iqtidar and Emile Perreau-Saussine. This is a project Ekklesia is participating in rather than running. We are endorsing, supporting and collaborating in it as part of our own research/discussion programme on inclusive models of secularity and the challenge of post-Christendom - Reconsidering the Secular.

Following a series of open seminars, there will be an invitees research workshop in 2008, aiming to look at: (1) Implications of the declining cultural hegemony of ‘mainstream’ Christian churches within the religious sphere for prevailing concepts of the secular in European countries. (2) The ideal of consistent criteria of recognition of the religious character of associations amidst unlimited diversity not only of religious observance but of the meaning of the phrase ‘being religious’ or even of the word ‘religion’ itself - not only nationally but also internationally and especially in the EU and actual or potential accession countries (viz. Turkey). (3) The possibility and desirability of a common basis of recognition and representation for all religions. (4) The concept of the secular as a clearly delineated sphere vis-à-vis the religious.

Ekklesia will be participating in, and responding to, this project in relation to our developing thesis of post-Christendom and Reconsidering the Secular.

The R&SN seminar programme is developing. The first lecture below is not formally part of the schedule, but will contribute toward its thinking. The launch event is on 1 November 2007.


Thursday 18 October 2007

Cosmopolitan virtue: religion and the crisis of liberalism


Profesor in the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, formerly Professor of Sociology at Cambridge University; author, most recently, of Vulnerability and Human Rights, Penn State University Press (2006)

The lecture which is taking place under the auspices of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at Cambridge University will take place at 5 pm at CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge


Thursday 1 November 2007

Atheism and politics. Political theology and Leo Strauss' "politico-theological problem"


Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. Author of Alasdair MacIntyre, une biographie intellectuelle. Introduction aux critiques contemporaines du libéralisme (2005); winner of the Prix Philippe Habert 2005.

Discussant: Raymond Geuss, Professor in Philosophy at Cambridge and author, inter alia, of The Idea of a Critical Theory (1981); Public goods, private goods (2001) Glück und Politik: Potsdamer Vorlesungen (2004); Outside ethics (2005)

The lecture will take place at Pembroke College in the Sir Thomas Gray Room. Tea will be served from 4 pm and the lecture will begin at 5 pm.


Thursday 15 November 2007, at 6 pm.

at Woburn House, Tavistock Square, London WC1

Muslims, Religious Equality and Secularism


Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, Director, University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity, University of Bristol and author of Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2007).

Discussant: Polly Toynbee, prominent journalist and social commentator and President of the British Humanist Association.

The lecture will take place in London at Woburn House, Tavistock Square. It will begin at 6 pm but drinks will be served from 5 pm.


Tuesday 4 December 2007

The Religious and the Political


Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the LSE. Author inter alia of A General Theory of Secularization (1978), Tongues of Fire (1990), Pentecostals: the world their parish (2002), Reflections on Sociology and Theology (1996) and On Secularization - towards a revised general theory (2005).

Discussant: TBA

The lecture will take place at Pembroke College in the Nihon Room. Tea will be served from 4 pm and the lecture will begin at 5 pm.


This page will be updated with further details of the Religion and Secularism Network.

R&SN contact: Dr David Lehmann - http://www.davidlehmann.org

At Ekklesia: Simon Barrow - http://faithinsociety.blogspot.com

The Network now has its own web presence here: http://www.thesecularismnetwork.org

See also from Ekklesia: Reconsidering the Secular (research prospectus), Facing up to fundamentalism (research paper), A new discourse on race and faith politics (statement of NGN), Redeeming Religion in the Public Square (research paper), Faith and Politics After Christendom (book), Open secularism meets open religion (speech by Simon Barrow at the Royal Society of Arts), Rethinking hate speech, blasphemy and free expression (policy paper), Toward the abolition of the nation state? (booklet, with Sarum College), God and the politicians (response paper). Ekklesia and the 'secularism versus religion' argument.