Secularism and the Rise of Religious Politics in the US

A CAST Lecture by Mark Juergensmeyer
Chair: Ole Wæver, Professor and Director of CAST

Mark Juergensmeyer is globally known as a leading scholar on religious politics – worldwide and particularly in South Asia and the Middle East. Domestically, in the US, he often interprets and comments on American developments, but these analyses more rarely reach his international audience.
In an interesting election year, we get a chance in Copenhagen to discuss these issues with Juergensmeyer. The year has already seen a number of notable religious events in American politics: the controversy over a planned mosque near Ground Zero, threats of burning of the Quran, record numbers for people believing President Obama is a Muslim, and a Tea Party Movement that seems to signal a transformation of the American right. Are we witnessing the end of the religious right or its reconfiguration? How does the classical front line between religious right and secular liberals relate to a newly intensified mobilization against Islam? Much to discuss!

MARK JUERGENSMEYER is director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, professor of sociology, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the Univer­sity of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, and has published more than two hundred articles and twenty books, including Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State (University of California Press 2008), the acclaimed Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (University of California Press, revised ed. 2003) based on interviews with religious activists around the world, and The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State (University of California Press, 1993) covering the rise of religious activism and its confrontation with secular modernity. Since the events of September 11, Juergensmeyer has been a frequent commentator in the news media, including CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News, ABC's Politically Incorrect, and CNBC's Dennis Miller Show. He has received numerous prestigious academic rewards, was elected president of the American Academy of Religion, and chairs the working group on Religion and International Affairs for the national Social Science Research Council.