Religion and secularism in southeast Asia

By Simon Barrow
September 9, 2008

This month, the Marty Center's Religion and Culture Web Forum (University of Chicago) features research on "Secularism, Religious Renaissance, and Social Conflict in Asia" by Richard Madsen.

Masden is from the University of California, San Diego, USA.

The concept of secularism as a political, social, and cultural phenomenon developed in the midst of and in reference to Western countries. Madsen applies this framework to East and Southeast Asia, finding that, while it "does not perfectly fit, the lack of fit is useful for highlighting particular dilemmas faced by Asian governments in an era of political and religious transformation."

Formal responses from Hong You (PhD candidate, University of Chicago Divinity School), Prasenjit Duara (National University of Singapore), Robert Weller (Boston University), and Hans Joas (University of Chicago) will be posted throughout the month.

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