Religion Conference, Apr 12-13

“For God’s Sake: Religious Upheaval in Politics and Society in the West”
223 Moses Hall & Faculty Club
International Conference Thursday, April 12 – Friday, April 13

Around the world, religion seems to be gaining currency in public life. This is true not only in traditionally religious societies, but also in many countries long considered secular. Clear examples of a return of the religious within international politics abound: the debates prompted by Pope Benedict’s speech at the University of Regensburg, the prominence of evangelicals on the neo-conservative right wing in both the domestic and foreign policy of the United States, the global repercussions of the Danish publication of the Muhammad caricatures. As politicians, artists, academics, and scholars of religion begin to address the increasing prominence of religion in everyday life as well as international politics, it has become clear that we need to become more articulate about the various roles that religion plays around the world, and indeed not only in those societies governed by religious law, but precisely in the secular societies of Europe and the United States.

Thursday, April 12 p.m., Heyns Room, Faculty Club - Keynote address by Karsten Voigt, Coordinator for German-American Cooperation in the German Foreign Office: “The Role of Religion in the Transatlantic Relations” followed by a reception.

Friday April 13, 223 Moses Hall

9 a.m. Panel I: Immigration and Integration. Are Muslims better integrated in the U.S. than in the European nations? How have massive waves of immigration affected the relation between religion, politics and society on either side of the Atlantic? Otto Kallscheuer (Political Scientist and Philosopher, FU Berlin), Jytte Klausen (Professor of Politics, Brandeis University), Michael Brenner (Professor of Jewish History and Culture, LMU München)

11 a.m. Panel II: Radicalization. How do radical religious groups influence state and society in Europe and the U.S.? David Hollinger (Professor of History, UC Berkeley), Dalil Boubakeur (Director, Muslim Institut of the Grand Mosque in Paris), Claus Leggewie (Political Scientist, Uni Giessen)

2 p.m. Panel III: Secularization. Why does Europe appear to be more secular than America? While in Europe religious practice is largely oriented toward established churches-which is to say, state and national churches, in the United States church and state are formally separate. Nonetheless religious groups or communities in the U.S. can gain a high degree of influence in the political sphere and in the public-seeking, for example, to ban homosexual marriage, abortion or stem cell research. Robert Orsi (President of the American Academy of Religion, Harvard University), Michael B. Aune (Dean of Faculty, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary), Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi (Professor of Psychology, University of Haifa, Israel)

For more information, please visit the Goethe Institute Website.