UCL European Institute


International Workshop: The Traditions of Post-Secular Europe

30 May 2012–31 May 2012, 12:00 am–12:00 am

Event Information

Open to


30-31 May 2012

30 and 31 May 2012

UCL Campus

UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies
UCL European Institute
UCL Institute of Jewish Studies
Polish Cultural Institute London

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International Workshop

Over the past decade, the concept of post-secularism seemed to solve several of the conundrums an exploration into the present and the future of intercultural interaction has to face today. In contrast to the doom-and-gloom visions of the inevitability of conflict between religiously defined global regions, famously defined by Samuel Huntington as clash of cultures, post-secularism hopes to reconcile diverging interests in multicultural societies, to allow for a dialogue between diverse religious commitments, and, more importantly, to establish common ground between faith-based communities and societal constituencies which reject any form of religious identity or commitment.

The workshop will inquire what the tools to investigate earlier examples of multicultural cohabitation can teach us about the potential of post-secularism, and develop a critical assessment about the limits of its applicability. It is directed at academics and graduate students (MA and PhD) in the Humanities and in Social and Political Sciences. For all three panels, registered participants will receive a selection of readings preparing for the discussions.

The language of the meetings will be English.


Participation in the seminar is free of charge, but prior registration us required. All sessions will be held at UCL. Please register by sending an e-mail to f.guesnet@ucl.ac.uk


(as of 3 May 2012)

30 May 2012

Coffee and Registration
16:00-18:00 Workshop panel I: Secularisms, Postsecularisms and Beyond
Venue: Rockefeller 337

Introduction and chair:
Dr Andrea Schatz (Reader in Jewish Studies, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King's College London)

How can we move beyond secular conceptions of time and space, when thinking about religion? A discussion, based on readings of Jonathan Sheehan, José Casanova, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmoud, and others.

18:15-18:45 Refreshments will be served before the lecture from 6.15pm. No registration required for the lecture!
18:45 Keynote lecture
Venue: J.Z. Young LT, Anatomy Building
UCL, Gower Street

Professor David Sorkin (Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Beyond the Secular-Religious Dichotomy: Four Characteristics of the Religious Enlightenment

31 May 2012

Panel II: The Religious Enlightenment
Venue: Taviton (16) 431
Academic lead and chair

Professor David Sorkin (Graduate Center, City University of New York). 

A discussion of the religious enlightenment and its relationship to philosophy, based on readings from David Sorkin: The Religious Enlightenment. Protestants, Jews, and Catholics from London to Vienna, Princeton 2009, and others.

11:15-11.30 Coffee/tea break
Panel III: Religious culture and political transformation among the Jews of Eastern Europe
Venue: Taviton (16) 431
Academic lead and chair

Dr François Guesnet (UCL), with Dr Michal Galas (Jagiellonian University Kraków) and Alicja Maslak, MA (Jagiellonian University Kraków)

A discussion of cultural and religious diversification among the Jews of Eastern Europe in the 19th century, and its possible impact on the relationship of "the religious" and "the secular". Readings tba.

This Graduate Student Seminar has been developed in cooperation with the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL, the Department of Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, the Department of Humanities, the Polish Cultural Institute, London, and the UCL European Institute.

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