Advanced Training Course

Secularism: Theory and Practice in Dialogue

19 e 20 de Novembro de 2010

CES - Coimbra


Secularism is clearly one of the constitutive pillars of Europe’s ideological self-image. The notion of secularism consequently serves a number of politically relevant purposes: it marks the point in European history when church and state became institutionally separated; it highlights the constant decline in individual beliefs that is supposedly a sign of successful modernization; and it describes the process of differentiation that allows for a multiplicity of social spheres with their local standards of legitimacy.


This is the standard narrative of secularism, well known from (some traditional schools within) the sociology of religion. The problem with this story is that, if we look at Europe more carefully and from the outside, it is incomplete at best and harmful at worst. The incompleteness of the standard narrative of secularism becomes evident once we take into account the real diversity of life worlds in European societies today. The past experience of colonialist projects and the present experience of immigration patterns shatter the basic assumption that individual beliefs are permanently in decline. Further, the more visible presence of Muslim immigrants in many European societies has led to revisions in the ideological self-image of Europe as secular.


This advanced training course shall offer an overview over these issues by bringing together various disciplines that have secularism as on object of research: theology, philosophy, anthropology and sociology. The advanced training course will be further supplemented by a roundtable discussion with Fernando Catroga (FLUC) around the topic of one of his latest books – secularism and the republic.



AbdoolKarim Vakil (Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies/ Department of History , King's College London )
Angelo Cardita (CES)
Clemens Zobel (CES)
João Cardoso Rosas (Minho University)
Mathias Thaler (CES)
Roberto Merrill (Minho University)
Silas Oliveira
Teresa Toldy (CES/ Fernando Pessoa University, Porto)


Deadline for registration: November 12, 2010

Coordinators: Mathias Thaler and Teresa Toldy



General public: 50 Euros
Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Students: 35 Euros

> Online registration