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The Future of Secular Europe

Nov 3 2005 12:00 am


a panel discussion with

WILLEM MAAS, Professor of Politics and European Studies, New York University. Book in progress: Creating European Citizens


MARK MAZOWER, Professor of History, Columbia University, Author of Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430-1950


TALAL ASAD, Professor of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center. Author of Formations of the Secular.

Moderated by

MIRA KAMDAR, Senior Fellow, The World Policy Institute

November 3, 2005

What defines Europe? Globalization and the post-colonial intrusion into European space of Muslim immigrants have thrown the question of European identity into crisis. French and Dutch voters recently rejected the European Union's constitution, suddenly putting the entire grand project of the European Union into question. Anxiety about global threats to Europe's high standard of living, the apparently conceptually difficult project of extending the boundaries of the European Union to include predominantly Muslim Turkey, and fears of the irresistibility of a consumer-driven, individualistic American model which threatens to overwhelm Europe's unique social contract all contribute to Europe's current malaise. The new pope has taken the name of Europe's patron saint as a powerful sign of what he has made one the priorities of his papacy: the recalling of Europe to its Christian heritage as the only way to save Europe from its enemies both within and without. Viewed from the passionately religious United States where policies both domestic and foreign are increasingly dictated by the imperatives of a conservative Christian ethos, Europe has seemed a haven of the secular. How will Europe accommodate the irruption of religion into the secular space of its carefully elaborated public sphere? What is at stake for us all in the outcome?

Mark Mazower and Talal Asad


 Talal Asad and Willem Maas


"The Future of Secular Europe" panelists



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