SG activity - Secularism, Identity & Neutrality

Studium Generale tours dynamics between state and religion by focusing on the fault lines between strict neutrality of the state and cultural and civic identity on the ground.

Organisator Studium Generale

di 25 april 2017 20:00

Locatie Impulse, gebouwnummer 115

What dynamics are at play between state and religion when it comes to managing the notion of "belonging" and "identity”? Political secularism pivots on the concept of neutrality of the state and a strict separation of cultural and civic identities. What can be said about this in relation to current tensions in Europe, largely experienced as fault lines between religion and the public realm? Why do some scholars claim that strict neutrality ‘is part of the problem’ rather than the solution? As he explores the debates, dr. Pooyan Tamimi Arab (Utrecht University) draws on international examples and the situation in the Netherlands. He combines political philosophy with anthropological research to shed light on the separation of cultural and civic identities on the ground.

About Pooyan Tamimi Arab

Dr. Pooyan Tamimi Arab studied art history, philosophy (MA 2011) and cultural anthropology (PhD 2015) at the University of Amsterdam, the New School for Social Research, and Utrecht University. He is an assistant professor of religious studies at the philosophy and religious studies department of Utrecht University, and author of Amplifying Islam in the European Soundscape (2017, Bloomsbury). His research takes material religion as an entry point to the anthropology of religion in general and to address the political theoretical topics of secularism, religious freedom and tolerance in particular. How does secularism shape and affect material religious forms in the twenty-first century? And, how does the presence of material religious forms, or demands for such a presence, (for example amplified Islamic calls to prayer) influence interpretations of religious freedom, pushing historically determined boundaries and altering the social limits of religious tolerance? Tamimi Arab tackles these questions by combining normative political theory and empirical social science.