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What are the Consequences of Particular Religious-Secular Distinctions?

A workshop organized within CINEFOGO Network of Excellence will be held at University of Aberdeen, Thursday 25 – Friday 26 June, 2009.

25 June 2009 - 26 June 2009

The theme

Recent years have seen a revival of debates in Europe (and elsewhere) over the place of religion in civil society or public life. Instead, the proposed workshop will take a step back and ask, among other things, what it means to debate the place of something called “religion” in something called “civil society” or “public life”. The workshop’s aim is not simply to dismiss (in a deconstructive vein) such categories and the debates that they occasion, but to examine the consequences of particular ways of distinguishing between “religious” and “secular”. It matters, after all, whether a museum exhibit is considered cultural or religious; a crucifix on a necklace is deemed an expression of faith or a fashion accessory; shari’a law is regarded as integral to Islam or as another lawcode; a particular state is classified by Europe as secular or not; a minority is viewed as religious or ethnic; and a PhD thesis is considered religious or just about religion. We are looking for speakers to explore the effects of the way people in a particular context distinguish between religious and secular.
How to participate

The workshop will begin at 2 pm on Thursday 25th June and end by 4.30 pm on Friday 26th June. Accommodation will be available at King’s Hall for the Thursday night. For information about travel and about the city and region, see

Prospective speakers are invited to email abstracts of around 200-400 words to the workshop coordinator, Trevor Stack ( by Monday 18th May. Accommodation at King’s Hall will be provided for speakers, once accepted, but please indicate if you also wish to apply for funds to cover travel costs. Speakers from CINEFOGO institutions (see for a list) should use their institutions’ grant to cover their travel costs, but speakers from institutions that are not CINEFOGO partners may apply for travel funds.

The workshop will help to prepare the ground for an international conference on the same topic, organised by Trevor Stack and Tim Fitzgerald, to be held at the British Academy on 14-16 June 2010.

About the workshop:

Call for papers: to editor:

CINEFOGO is an acronym for Network of Excellence “Civil Society and New Forms of Governance in Europe – the Making of European Citizenship”. CINEFOGO aims at enhancing the understanding of social and democratic processes, citizenship and democratic participation in Europe. It seeks to provide knowledge about civil society, citizenship and social protection, nourish a public debate on governance and strengthen intellectual co-operation. To learn more on CINEFOGO, visit or send an e-mail to The CINEFOGO Network of Excellence is supported by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 7: New Forms of Citizenship and Cultural Identities of the European Union.