Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWelcome, everyone, to the second week of the course. This week, you will examine how Europe is constructed through religion. Dr. Klein and Professor Tamcke from the University of Göttingen will guide you. You will see if Europe can be identified through a particular religion or absence of it, and you will see how religion has been used to identify what is Europe and what is not Europe. Jose Casanova, a renowned sociologist of religion, will explain what is secularisation. And you will learn to reexamine secularisation in a critical way, in a way that it is also meaningful in light of contemporary culture and societal issues in Europe, including the so-called refugee crises.

Overview of the week

Welcome to the second week of the course! Together with Professor Martin Tamcke and Dr Lars Klein from the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, we will be looking into the role religion plays in contemporary Europe.

We start the week with looking at secularism and open society. Secularism is the idea that the state and religious institutions should be separated: religion should not play a role in public life.

Our examples this week are France and Germany. Both countries are religiously pluralist: large parts of the population belong to various Christian demoninations, but there are also sizable Muslim populations. The question of how to deal with religious pluralism and diversity became especially important in Europe after the attacks on the headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in early 2015. Professor Martin Tamcke discusses the roots of both the French and the German state systems, thus placing contemporary responses in an historical context.

Next on, we discuss how the idea of a secular Europe influences European integration. Can the EU be a secular project? How would this affect EU-Turkey relations, for example? Or consider Poland, a strongly Catholic country that is part of the Union. How does the Union’s motto, ‘unity in diversity’, fit in this discussion?

Lastly, we turn to the topic of citizenship and otherness. Citizenship is the Western way of regulating inclusion and exclusion in a society: citizens, those who are ‘in’, have rights and duties, in contrast to non-citizens, those who are ‘out’. The so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has pressured the debate on immigration, integration and citizenship. Dr Lars Klein discusses how these debates influence European identity construction.

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European Culture and Politics

University of Groningen

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