Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Is Democratic Religious Governance Possible?: Abdolkarim Soroush

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Kim Koo Library

The next meeting of the Religion and Internationalism Faculty Colloquium, co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Watson Institute, will be held on Tuesday, May 3, at 2 pm in the Watson’s South Common Room (2nd floor).  The theme for this final meeting of the semester will be “Is Democratic Religious Governance Possible?”  The primary readings for this session will be essays by Abdolkarim Soroush, the Iranian religious and political thinker.  The controversial and influential Soroush is widely viewed as one of the leading intellectual forces engaged in rethinking the relationship between religion and politics in the Islamic world and beyond.  Though he began his public career as an active supporter of the Islamic Revolution, he has since become a leading dissident voice, subject to harassment and censorship in Iran.  In the essays we will read (“The Sense and Essence of Secularism,” “The Idea of Democratic Religious Government,” and “Tolerance and Governance:  A Discourse on Religion and Democracy”), Soroush stages a critical encounter between religion and the liberal democratic tradition.  As a companion to these readings, we will look at an excerpt from a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights:  Case Of Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) And Others V. Turkey(2001), which seemed to declare that secularism was a precondition for human rights.  For the readings, please contact Nukhet Sandal, nukhet_sandal@brown.edu
Location: Kim Koo Library