Faith and Fabric (The status of ‘secular modernity’ in an African context)

In 2005/2006 the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin hosted an inter-disciplinary research project on “secular modernity” in which world-renowned Fellows like Hans Joas (German sociologist at the Freiburh Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), professor of the University of Chicago), who led the project, Charles Taylor (Canadian philosopher) and Jose Casanova (sociologist of religion from New York), amongst others, studied the nature of secularisation and the presence and role or religion in different so-called “modern” societies. Among the first products of this year was the major award-winning work by Taylor, A secular age (Harvard University Press, 2007). Broadly speaking, and by way of generalization, one may say that they all reject – for different reasons, from different academic disciplines and providing different scholarly accounts – the so-called “mainline secularization theory,” that has been taken for granted for so long by many theorists and ordinary people in specific societies – that “modernity brings about secularity. The STIAS project revisits these questions in an African context.

[SU Researchers: Bernard Lategan]

Project leader(s):
  • Dirkie Smit (Stellenbosch)
STIAS fellow(s):
  • Hans Joas (Humboldt University)
  • Wolfgang Huber (Humboldt University)