Sussex Centre for Intellectual History Post-Graduate Conference:
Religion and Modernity
Secularism is often regarded as one of the defining features of modernity, and it is an idea which remains central to the image of an ‘enlightened’ society. Secularism can be seen as an ideology promoting secularity within social relations, structure and organisation. Secularity itself is often regarded as the mark of a modern society and the relationship between the two is both fascinating and contested. Although the history of modern European society is often presented as based on secularism and as marked by an inexorable movement towards secularity, religion continues to play a major role in public life. Religion and religious concerns influence and inform significant aspects of official state policy including health care, foreign policy, and science. Religion is also integral to the identity of many people and groups, informing their views of society, and its history. The continuing importance of religious beliefs suggests that the secular nature of modernity remains a contested rather than a closed issue. This conference seeks to explore debates over the place of religion in a modern society, from the Enlightenment to the present day and particularly welcomes papers of an interdisciplinary nature. Themes might include: – The relationship between secularism as an ideology and secularity as a state of affairs within society – Discussions and disputes about the role of religion during the age of Enlightenment. – Religious toleration and its limits – Theories of modernity which explicitly discuss religion – Case studies of the place of religion in modern society being disputed or contested – Modern science relationship with religion. – The construction of secular modernity in contemporary historical writing Papers should last for no more than 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions. To register or send an abstract please email by 31st January 2009.