SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Religion and Politics as Modern Fictions

Dr Timothy Fitzgerald (School of Languages, Cultures and Religions, University of Stirling, Scotland)

Date: 10 November 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 10 November 2015Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B 102

Type of Event: Seminar


‘Politics’ and ‘religion’ appear in public and academic discourse as neutral descriptive concepts with unproblematic universal application. However, seen from a different critical historical perspective they are a mutually parasitic pair of modern power categories, operating in tandem. These fictions are rhetorically transformed by various agencies into intuitive common sense reality. Religion and politics appear as different kinds of practice, defined by different functions, purposes, and attributes. There must be a difference between a religious and a political practice, even if we cannot specify what it is. If religion and politics mix, then a violent chemical combustion takes place, and the peace-loving secular state and its generous civility has to defend itself against irrational religious barbarians who confuse and mix what ought to be kept separate. ‘Religion’ has even been represented since 9/11 as a malevolent agent returning from exile and threatening the peace-loving secular order of international relations. I argue that there can be no ‘postcolonial’ or ‘postmodern’ until this modern liberal myth and its institutionalization has been fully deconstructed.


Timothy Fitzgerald is Reader in Religion in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK. His current research interest is in the categories of the understanding that constitute modern liberalism and neoliberalism.

Organiser: Peter Fl├╝gel

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