International Conference on Global Secularism:

Lægaard, S. (Arrangør)

Aktivitet: Deltagelse i eller arrangering af en begivenhedOrganisation og deltagelse i konference


Secularism is today debated in many different respects and at different levels, from social science, area studies and philosophy to heated public debates around the world. In Europe debates continue over the extent to which international human rights norms require separation of church and state and the proper role of religious symbols in the public sphere. In the Middle East the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’ is increasingly characterized by contentions between religious and secular groups over how a new democratic constitutional and political order can or cannot be based on Islamic norms. At the same time, but relatively disconnected from these very context-specific and policy oriented debates, political theorists and philosophers have recently reinvigorated academic discussions about the very concept of secularism and the normative justifications for and problems with secularism as a political principle and doctrine. This conference will bring together empirical, context-specific debates about secularism ‘on the ground’ and theoretical debates about the general concepts and normative issues raised by secularism. The conference will convene leading international academics working on political and anthropological theories of secularism. Following on the work of Jakobsen and Pellegrini, the conference takes as its point of departure that various secular traditions have developed around the world, and that this multiplicity must be held up against the conceptual theorization of secularism as a universal doctrine. The guiding idea of the conference is that both the empirical and theoretical debates can learn from each other. At the empirical level, a clearer and more nuanced appreciation of the complexities of the concept of secularism and the varied interrelations between issue about secularism and other issues involving religion and politics might both provide analytically useful and pave the way for new approaches to political controversies such as those in the Middle East. Furthermore, parallel debates about the secular in different regions of the world deserve comparative work. At the theoretical level, philosophical reflections over the meaning of secularism need empirical input in order to anchor theories and to challenge traditional understandings that may not have been challenged from within the purely theoretical debates. The conference accordingly provides an opportunity for reciprocal inspiration and development and promises to move the debates over secularism forward at both the empirical and theoretical levels. The conference will be co-organised by Sune Lægaard and Sune Haugbølle as part of the research cluster Secularism and Religion in the 21st Century which is part of the Global Dynamics research priority initiative at Roskilde University together with the research group Secular Ideology in the Middle East. The conference is free of charge Please register by email to
Periode5 dec. 20136 dec. 2013
PlaceringRoskilde, Danmark


  • sekularisme
  • Religion og politik
  • islam
  • stat og kirke
  • Multikulturalisme