Religious Secular Divide

20th Social Research conference at The New School
The Religious-Secular Divide: The U.S. Case
March 5-6, 2009
John Tishman Auditorium 66 West 12th Street, NYC

PUBLISHED PROCEEDINGS
Papers from the conference are published in Social Research Volume 76, Number 4 (Winter 2009). https://epay.newschool.edu/C21120_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5347

THEMATIC
The conference explored the tension between religion and secularity in the United States, which is long-standing, widespread, and increasingly intense. This is evident in contemporary debates over such issues as evolution and intelligent design which challenge the traditional absence of religious discourse from education, in the increasing importance of religious priorities in political decision-making, in governmental reliance on spiritual or faith-based philanthropy, and on the role of faith-based communities in lobbying for legislation or bringing out the vote to elect candidates. Given the increasing number of calls we are hearing for lowering the “wall of separation” erected between church and state by our Constitution, the question at hand is whether we are experiencing a major shift in the role of religion in political decision making and in our lives.These issues were addressed from the perspectives of religious studies, legal studies, political science, sociology, and philosophy. The keynote address will be delivered by Charles Taylor, Professor, Northwestern University. Conference attendees could also register for a guided tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was created for the conference. The tours of their permanent collection addressed the ways in which art has engaged questions of religion, spirituality, and secularism throughout history. The three tours were all one hour on Saturday, March 7th and $10 per person. Tickets included general admission to the museum.

AGENDA

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Session I: Origins of the Secular 

10:30 am - 1:15 pm

Religious Origins: Noah Feldman, Professor of Law, Harvard University
Political Origins: George Kateb, Professor Emeritus, Politics, Princeton University
Philosophic Origins: Richard J. Bernstein, Vera List Professor of Philosophy, The New School for Social Research Secularism as Ideology: José Casanova, Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University
Session Moderator: David Plotke, Professor of Political Science, Chair of History, The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

1:15 pm - 2:15 pm BREAK

Session II: Religious Selves, Secular Selves

2:15 pm - 5:00 pm
Ritual, Sincerity and the Self
Adam B. Seligman, Professor of Religion, Research Associate, Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Boston University
Spirituality in Modern Society: The Spiritual Self - Peter van der Veer, University Professor, Utrecht University
The Human Predicament: William E. Connolly, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Theory and International Relations, The Johns Hopkins University
The Human Soul, a Unique Biological Adaptation: The Psychological Self - Daniel C. Dennett, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University
Session Moderator: Mark Larrimore, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm BREAK

Session III: Keynote Address, The Polysemy of the Secular

6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
by Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University
Moderated by Benjamin Lee, Senior Vice President for International Affairs, The New School

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Session IV: Religion, Politics, and the Democratic State

10:00 am - 12:45 pm

The Secular Citadel and the Untended Garden: Past Constitutional/Legal Debates
John T. Noonan, Jr., United States Senior Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
We Are All Religious Now, Again: Constitutional/Legal Debates
Winnifred Sullivan, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Law and Religion Program, University at Buffalo Law School, SUNY
Political Debates: Then - James A. Morone, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies, Brown University
Political Debates: Now - Ann Pellegrini, Associate Professor, Performance Studies and Religious Studies, New York University (in collaboration with Janet Jakobsen, Professor, Director, Barnard Center for Research on Women and Interim, Associate Dean of Faculty Diversity, Barnard College)
Session Moderator: Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, Director, University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, Bristol University

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm BREAK

Session V: Moral Crusades Then and Now: Religious and Secular

1:45 pm - 4:30 pm

The Prophetic Tradition and Civil Rights: a Transracial Challenge to Democracy
David L. Chappell, Professor of History, University of Oklahoma
Temperance to the Moral Majority - Susan F. Harding, Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Santa Cruz
Identity Politics - Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
Culture Wars - James Davison Hunter, LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory; University of Virginia
Session Moderator: Ann Snitow, Associate Professor, Literature and Gender Studies, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

Session VI: Contemporary Debates: The Future of Religion and the Future of Secularism

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
a panel discussion - Sheila Davaney, Program Officer, Religion, Society and Culture, Ford Foundation, Michael W. McConnell, Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; Presidential Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, Ann Pellegrini, Associate Professor, Performance Studies and Religious Studies, New York University, Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Philosophy, McGill University
Session Moderator: José Casanova, Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University

 

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Social Research has collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create private tours for conference attendees. The tours will begin with art from Ancient Greece and Rome, step back to the Ancient Near East, and then continue forward through Medieval Art, the Renaissance, and into the 19th century and Modern art. Each work of art will be considered in its respective historical context in order to establish how each work functions in terms of the religious-secular divide. The tours are one hour and cost $10 per person and include admission to the museum.

ORGANIZER
 
The conference was co-directed by José Casanova, Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. The director and founder (1988) of the Social Research conference series is Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, who has been the editor of Social Research since 1970. For the history of the conference series, visit the Social Research conference series site. For information about other public events at The New School, see the university calendar.Find information about the more than 70 degree programs offered at The New School. For general information about The New School, visit the Quick Facts page.

FUNDING
 

This conference was made possible by generous support from the Russell Sage Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal ArtsSession VI: Contemporary Debates: The Future of Religion and the Future of Secularism

 
Connect with the New School