Over four days in June 2012, our speakers – philosophers and theologians, historians and writers, believers and non-believers – will consider what it can mean to be religious, and what role the voice of faith may legitimately have in the conversations of citizens in a multicultural, democratic state and in the community of nations.
The Voice of Faith in National Identity: Speaking From India: Dipesh Chakrabarty: Panel Discussion
In a panel discussion following Dipesh Chakrabarty’s address, the conversation will open up to include Sundhya Pahuja, a professor from Melbourne Law School (concerned with the relationship between international law and institutions and the question of global inequality), writer and poet Barry Hill. Justice Susan Crennan, a former Commonwealth Commissioner for Human Rights, will be participating chair.
The Voice of Faith in the Conversation of Citizens: Stanley Hauerwas: Panel Discussion
Following his keynote lecture on ‘The Voice of Faith in the Conversation of Citizens’, Stanley Hauerwas will be joined by Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier, Kristina Keneally, to challenge and examine his conclusions and assumptions, with Morag Fraser as participating chair.
Jewish Identity in the Hebrew Republic: A Voice from Israel: Bernard Avishai: Panel Discussion
Bernard Avishai is the final keynote speaker of the Faith and Culture series, talking about Jewish identity in the Hebrew republic of Israel. He is one of the world’s most respected commentators about Israel and the Middle East conflict and has published on the subject in the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Nation, Harpers and New York Times magazine. Following his keynote address, Avishai will be joined by a panel of local writers and thinkers. The panel will include Geoffrey Brahm Levey, foundation director of the UNSW Program in Jewish Studies and Arnold Zable, president of the Melbourne Centre of International PEN. John Baker, a graduate of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and president of Ameinu Australia, a roof body for moderate Zionism, will be participatory chair.
The Voice of Faith in National Identity: Speaking From India: Dipesh Chakrabarty: Keynote
First, ground-breaking social historian Dipesh Chakrabarty will explore the voice of faith in national identity, speaking from the perspective of India. Chakrabarty’s book Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference investigates how and in what sense European ideas labelled ‘universal’ are in fact drawn from very specific intellectual traditions. He is one of the founders of subaltern studies, a field that draws on the idea that peasants may play a positive role in effecting social change in ex-colonial countries.
The Voice of Faith and the Challenge of Democratic Multiculturalism: Tariq Modood
To launch the day’s talks, one of Britain’s most eloquent advocates of multiculturalism, Tariq Modood, will explore the links between religious belief and a multicultural society. Appealing to the idea of a ‘multiculturalism of hope’, Modood brings his expertise in ethnic minorities, and UK Muslim communities in particular, to bear. In the Guardian he wrote, ‘Respect for religion and moderate secularism are kindred spirits and are sources of hope for a multiculturalism that gives status to religious, as to other, communities’.
The Voice of Faith in Islam's Challenge to Europe: Asma Barlas
Following on from Modood’s exploration of the challenges of democratic multiculturalism, distinguished scholar and outspoken public intellectual Asma Barlas delves further into the relationship between Islam and contemporary Europe. Born and raised in Pakistan, Barlas was one of the first women to join the foreign service. However, she was dismissed on the orders of the country’s military ruler for her criticism of him, and eventually received political asylum in the US. Barlas has written and spoken eloquently against Western misreadings of the Qur’an, and passionately against Islamic misreadings that would appear to justify the oppression of women.