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Secularities - Patterns of Distinction, Paths of Differentiation

Conference of the Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe (KFG)

“Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities”
4–6 October 2018
Leipzig University, Paulinum and Felix-Klein-Hörsaal

Wherever religion is on the agenda, its boundaries are present as well. Relations as well as separations are at stake, negotiations as well as conflicts arise: people start defining boundaries, making claims and sanctioning the reasonable and unreasonable, the legitimate and illegitimate. We assume that differences in the vehemence and structure of such boundary demarcations can only be explained if the regionally diverging historical experiences are taken into consideration.

Thus, the conference aims to discuss the variety of symbolic and institutional measures that distinguish between the religious and the non-religious (and at the same time relate the two to each other) in modern societies, and find explanations for the multiplicity of “secularities”. This implies investigating the pre-modern social and epistemic structures that may have conditioned the path-dependent processes in which “Western” modes of differentiating and distinguishing were appropriated under the global condition. Accordingly, we are particularly interested in boundary demarcations in regions outside the so-called “modern West”. Therefore, we are inviting papers, which explore forms of distinction and arrangements of differentiation between social spheres, practices, interpretive frameworks, institutions and discourses in different eras and regions. We consciously abstain from the term “secularism” in order to avoid its strong normative underpinning and the related debates. Instead, we start from a heuristic notion of “secularity” to address distinctions and forms of differentiation between religion and its other.

Registration for Listeners, Subject: CONFERENCE '18

Registration closes 15 September 2018!

Preliminary Programme

Thursday, 4 October

16:30- 18:00

Welcome and Opening Session: Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Christoph Kleine (KFG "Mulltiple Secularities")


18:30 - 20.00

Opening Keynote: José Casanova (Georgetown University)

Friday, 5 October

Section 1: Emic classification systems and practices of differentiation

What types of distinction and differentiation (resembling the one between the religious and secular) have been developed in different regions before the encounter with the West?

9:30 - 11:00

Religion and Science (working title)

Katrin Killinger (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

The divine principle in early Āyurveda. The re-interpretation of religious vocabulary in the Compendium of Caraka (200 BC – 400 AD)

Christian Mauder (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Pre-Modern Islamicate Explanations for Lunar and Solar Eclipses – A Case of Differentiation between Religious and Secular Knowledge?

Laurent Mignon (Oxford University)

Islamising or De-Islamising Healing: The Case of Anatolian Medicine

Chair: Katja Triplett (KFG "Multiple Secularities")
Discussant: Silke Gülker (Leipzig University)

11:30 - 13:00

Civility (adab) and governance (siyasa) as an axis of secular differentiation in Islamic societies, 14th-17th centuries

Alexandre Papas (EHESS Paris)
Adab and siyasa in a Sufi mirror for princes by Ahmad Kasani (d. 1542)

Luca Patrizi (Sorbonne, Paris IV)
The Minstrel and the Cup-bearer: The Development of the Sufi majlis as an Image of the Courtly Banquet in Late Medieval Islamic History (14th-17th c.)

Armando Salvatore (McGill University)

Neguin Yavari (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

The House that Kāshifī Built

Discussant: Armando Salvatore

14:30 - 16:00

Pre-Modern Knowledge Systems and Taxonomies (in Asia)

Max Deeg (Cardiff University)

Christoph Kleine (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Hubert Seiwert (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Section 2: Processes of boundary demarcation, paths of development, and genealogies

What was the history of religious-secular boundary demarcation in the areas under research? What are the genealogies of present distinctions? What were the paths that emerged from early differentiations and their interaction with Western forms of secular-religious differentiation?

9:30 - 11:00

Religion and Politics in South-East Asia (working title)

Madlen Krüger (University of Münster)
Religio-political discourses about the activism of Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka

Patrice Ladwig (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Göttingen)

Iselin Frydenlund (Norwegian School of Theology)

11:30 - 13:00

Appropriation of Western Concepts of Religion in East Asia

Andreea Barbu (University of Bucharest)
The image of the Western secularization model in Meiji Japan: adoption and reinterpretation

Kyuhoon Cho (Seoul National University Asia Center)
Secular State and the Formation of Religion in a Globalized Korea

Christian Meyer (FU Berlin)

Mark Mullins (University of Auckland)

Discussant: Christoph Kleine (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

14:30 - 16:00

Remaking Religious-Secular Boundaries in Asia: A View from the Ground

Mascha Schulz (Zurich University)

Vineeta Sinha (National University of Singapore)

Refuting Sacred/Secular Boundaries: Insights from Hindu domains in Singapore and Malaysia

Rupa Viswanath (Göttingen University)

The Indian Poor and the Politics of Intraracial Difference: Hinduism and Christianity as Racialization in Urban Malaysia

Chair: Marian Burchardt (Leipzig University)
Discussant: Sam Nelson (McGill University)

16:30 - 18:00

Historicizing Secularity: Genealogy and Conceptual History

Bjorn Ola Tafjord (University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway)
Differentiating religion in Talamanca

Reinhard Schulze (University of Bern)

Florian Zemmin (University of Bern)

Discussant: Markus Dreßler (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Section 3: Reference problems and guiding ideas of secularity

To which societal problems did forms of distinction and differentiation respond and with which guiding ideas were they promoted?

9:30 - 11:00

Secularity in Indonesia (working title)

Robert Hefner (Boston University)

Indonesian Secularities: The Refiguration of State-Society-Religion Relations in an Asian Muslim Country

Mirjam Künkler (Fellow Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”, Bonn University)

11:30 - 13:00

Guiding Ideas of Secularity in Russia (working title)

Johannes Gleixner (Collegium Carolinum Prague)
The consequences of tearing down the boundary and the difficulties of re-erecting them – “Soviet secularism” in the 1920ies between modernization and politicized religion

Tobias Köllner (Witten/Herdecke University)
On 'Entangled Authorities': Orthodox Religion, Politics and Secularity in contemporary Russia

Sebastian Rimestadt (Erfurt University)
Russian Orthodox concepts of secularity

Discussant: Wolfgang Höpken (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

14:30 - 16:00

Historicizing Secularity in the Arab-Ottoman World

Mohammad Magout (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Ussama S. Makdisi (Rice University, Houston, TX)

Discussant: Nader Sohrabi (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

16:30 - 18:00

Guiding Ideas of Secularity in India (working title)

Rinku Lamba (Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi)

Differentiation, Integration and Secularity: An Indian Perspective

Sushmita Nath

Nehru as a contested figure

Nadja-Christina Schneider (Humboldt University Berlin)

The end of ‘old secularism’ vs. rise of ‘neo-secularism’ in India? Competing visions and redefinitions of an essentially contested concept

Section 4: Types of cultural interaction and acquisition, transfer and entanglement

What are the forms, in which distinctions and differentiations have been transferred and adopted? Which types of cultural interaction took place? What kinds of entanglement exist between different cultural agents and products?

9:30 - 11:00

Questioning Differentiation in Iran: Ontological Prospects

Sana Chavoshian (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Differentiation, Inside Out: How Muslim Pious Women Interplay Matters of dis/Enchantment in Iran

Nahid Mozaffari (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Did Tajaddod (Modernity) include the Secular?  Debates in Early 20th Century Iran

Ebrahim Towfigh

State and Knowledge System

Discussant: Georg Stauth (Mainz University)

11:30 - 13:00

Exploring Secularities: A Comparative Perspective on Religion, Law and the State in India

Anindita Chakrabarti (IIT Kanpur)
Public Interest Litigation, Religion and the Question of Secularity in Contemporary India

Suchandra Gosh (IIT Kanpur)
Adjudication of ‘Personal’ Law: An Ethnography of Judicial Reasoning in Sharia and Civil Courts of Kanpur

Deepak Mehta (Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida, Dehli)
The Ayodhya Dispute: Law, Haunting and the Jural Deity

14:30 - 16:00

Public Space and Religious Behaviour (working title)

Cassie Adcock (Washington University, St. Louis)
Hindu Secularities of Science and Development: Protecting Cows in 20th Century India

Roopesh Ob (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay)
Secularity and Hindu temples in Kerala; Conflicts and transformation of religious institution

Santosh (IIT Madras)
Boundary Demarcation and Coalescence between the Religious and the Secular: The Case of a 'Secular' Muslim Organisation in India

Discussant: Ursula Rao (Leipzig University)

16:30 - 18:00

Religious diversity and the welfare state

Pascal Bourdeaux (EPHE - PSL, Paris)
Hoa Hao Buddhism and worldliness in 20th century Vietnam : an historical definition of «nhập thế»

André Laliberté (University of Ottawa)
‘Merit Societies’ and social service provision in Chinese societies: a variety of approaches to multiple secularities

Discussant: Hubert Seiwert (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Saturday, 6 October


Working Groups Sections 1-4

13:30 - 15:00

Closing Session