International Conference 2009 ::: Rethinking Religion in India (RRI) II: Rethinking Secularism

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In January 2008, the first conference questioned the theoretical framework that is used for the study of religion and tradition in the Indian context. The second conference, which took place from 10 till 13 January in New Delhi, proceeded from the questions raised in the first: If the theoretical framework of religious studies is inadequate in the Indian context, then how should we understand certain conflicts and problems in India that are generally linked to ‘religion’? The different sessions took up questions such as: Is secularism the solution to the problem of communal conflict in India or does it play a role in aggravating these conflicts? What is the relation between secularism and ‘fundamentalism’? How to make sense of the clash over religious conversion in contemporary India?

Today, the ideological struggle between two opposing political positions, viz. secularism and Hindutva has hijacked reflection and debate on the nature of Indian culture and society, making an academic debate on cognitive grounds almost impossible. Rethinking Religion in India II aimed to go beyond these limitations in a theoretical and scholarly way. Two central plenary conference formats –the Platform and Roundtable sessions – provided a forum for rigorous reflection and debate to a number of internationally renowned experts in the study of secularism, religion and culture, mainly from India, Europe and the US.

There are some video recordings of this conference. You can find them on youtube:

The position paper and other information can be found in the brochure of RRI II.


When:10 January, 2009 - 13 January, 2009
Focus Domain:Social sciences and humanities
Event Type:Building the Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities, Collaborations of UGent Faculty, Conference / Congres / Symposium
Location:New Delhi, India
Venue:New Delhi, Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA)
Organization:India Platform, Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap
Keywords:Rethinking Religion

Contact Details: Marianne Keppens -

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