Violence and the Sacred in a Postsecular Age




Challenges and Future Perspectives of Historical Theory
International Conference, Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Poland
Friday, March 8th, 2013

Mission Statement


The aim of the conference is to rethink the relationship between violence and the sacred in the context of what is sometimes called “the post-secular age”. In the humanities and social sciences it is manifested by a “post-secular turn” and a renewal of interest in the relationship between the political and the theological. What are the causes of this process? Are we witnessing a form of re-enchantment of the world by its resacralization? How might the Marxist idea: “the criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism” be re-evaluated in the post-secular age when criticism means creative rethinking? How does the critique of Europocenrism stimulate such a process? Is a recent renewal of interest in the new animism (and the animate) and new totemism a part of it? What are the theoretical challenges that historians are facing today when dealing with various modes of “non-rational” beliefs of groups which claim rights to have their own visions of history? Can rethinking of various forms of non-European spirituality offer a way of forming alternative theories of subjectivity and identity in the planetary perspective? How might historians contribute to the formation of knowledge of living together (Bruno Latour) and to the formation of a postsecular, multi-religious society, where indigenous traditions (for example spiritual and mythical approaches to land, animals, plans and things) co-exist with monotheistic religions? The theoretical frame for the conference would be provided by René Girard's theory of good (beneficial, purifying) violence and bad violence as the core of the sacred, the idea of sacrifice and social scapegoating.

Organized by:

Ewa Domanska
Department of History
Adam Mickiewicz University
ul. sw. Marcin 78
61-809 Poznan, Poland