Working with A Secular Age â€“ Interdisciplinary Reflections
on Charles Taylorâ€™s Conception of the Secular
Berne, Switzerland, 6-8 March 2014
Keynote speakers: Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University, NY),
Jonathan VanAntwerpen (SSRC, NY)
Since its publication in 2007, Charles Taylorâ€™s A Secular Age has been
generating a lively discussion. Understandably so: In his seminal work, the
Canadian philosopher aims at nothing less than a re-telling of the (hi)story of
the secular. While some enthusiastically welcomed A Secular Age as a
breakthrough in the ongoing reconfiguration of secularity, others pointed to
certain weaknesses and limitations of Taylorâ€™s work. Moving one step beyond
general appraisal and the already existing and important critique of A Secular
Age, this conference aims at exploring the applicability (and its limits) of
Taylorâ€™s conception of the secular.
Participantsâ€™ common goal will be to critically reflect on the general potential of
Taylorâ€™s conception for individual disciplines. In their presentations, scholars
working within the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Sociology, History,
Religious Studies, Area Studies (incl. Islamic Studies), Political Science and
Law, Literature and Art or Gender Studies will tackle the following questions
concerning their respective discipline: Which aspects and assumptions of
Taylorâ€™s work can be adopted easily; when does a need for translation and
transformation arise; and where are the barriers of disciplinary understandings,
approaches and traditions too large to be overcome? Next to these
theoretical considerations, participants will have the opportunity to present
their completed or current research projects, which in one way or another
integrate, modify or built upon a specific theoretical aspect or a
phenomenological finding brought forward in A Secular Age.
We welcome contributions from advanced MA students, PhD students and
Postdocs from all of the disciplines mentioned above as well as related
disciplines. Please note that in order to ensure a red thread and common
ground for discussion, both for theoretical contributions as well as for case
studies the reference to A Secular Age is a must. The presentations should
not exceed 15-20 minutes in order to allow time for discussion afterwards.
Please submit an abstract of 300-400 words and a short bionote in PDF
format to: firstname.lastname@example.org. As the panels will be organized
around individual disciplines, please state in which of the above-mentioned
fields you would like to present your paper.
Deadline for proposals: November 15, 2013.
For proposals accepted for presentation, we will try to fully cover the costs for
travel (2nd class) and accommodation in Berne.
Please note: In preparation of this conference, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the
Humanities (IASH) is organizing a workshop on A Secular Age in October/December 2013,
addressing both MA and PhD students, for which there are still some places left. For further
information, please visit: http://www.iash.unibe.ch/content/events/programme/index_eng.html