Northwestern Events Calendar


James Chappel: Christian Democracy and the European Variety of Secularism

When: Thursday, February 16, 2017
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Gina Giliberti  

Group: Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Category: Academic


The European model of secularism is currently in crisis, confronted with new immigrant populations on the one hand and resurgent religious nationalisms on the other. The weakness and exclusionary nature of European secularism can be traced to its origin story, which was not so long ago (and certainly more recent than 1789). The contemporary European model of secularism was forged in the decade after World War II, in a moment of Christian Democratic political dominance, and in a moment between the departure of Europe's Jewish community and the arrival of its Muslim one. This variety of secularism was contested at its origin, even from within the Church: some Catholics in the wake of the Holocaust argued for a more robust, pluralist model of secularism that would make room for religious others. In an era of Cold War and Catholic triumphalism, however, they were silenced. The contemporary crises of secularism, therefore, might lead us not to reject secularism altogether, but to interrogate particular forms of secularism and their historical genealogies.

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