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Secularities – Patterns of Distinction, Paths of Differentiation

Conference of the Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe (KFG)

“Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities”

4–6 October 2018

Leipzig University, Paulinum and Felix-Klein-Hörsaal


Wherever religion is on the agenda, its boundaries are present as well. Relations as well as separations are at stake, negotiations as well as conflicts arise: people start defining boundaries, making claims and sanctioning the reasonable and unreasonable, the legitimate and illegitimate. We assume that differences in the vehemence and structure of such boundary demarcations can only be explained if the regionally diverging historical experiences are taken into consideration.


Thus, the conference aims to discuss the variety of symbolic and institutional measures that distinguish between the religious and the non-religious (and at the same time relate the two to each other) in modern societies, and find explanations for the multiplicity of “secularities”. This implies investigating the pre-modern social and epistemic structures that may have conditioned the path-dependent processes in which “Western” modes of differentiating and distinguishing were appropriated under the global condition. Accordingly, we are particularly interested in boundary demarcations in regions outside the so-called “modern West”. Therefore, we are inviting papers, which explore forms of distinction and arrangements of differentiation between social spheres, practices, interpretive frameworks, institutions and discourses in different eras and regions. We consciously abstain from the term “secularism” in order to avoid its strong normative underpinning and the related debates. Instead, we start from a heuristic notion of “secularity” to address distinctions and forms of differentiation between religion and its other.


Details and Program


Registration for Listeners: If you want to participate in the conference, please register via multiple-secularities@uni-leipzig.de, Subject: CONFERENCE ’18.


Registration closes 23 September 2018