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What is Fundamentalism – and what threats does it pose to today’s world?

26 February 13

Islamic Fundamentalism in the modern world

the 2013 British Academy Lecture given by Professor Michael Cook FBA, 6.00pm – 7.15pm, followed by a drinks reception, Tuesday, 26 February 2013, The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1 5AG

There is nothing exceptional about religion playing a role in politics, but among the major religions of the world today none plays a more salient role than Islam.  Particularly conspicuous is the contribution of trends of thought that we loosely refer to as Islamic fundamentalism.  What is it about the combination of the Islamic heritage and the state of the contemporary world that makes Islamic fundamentalism so attractive and Islam so politically salient?

About the speaker:

Michael Cook is Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.  He studied at the University of Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London until he moved to Princeton in 1986.  His published work is mainly concerned with the formation and development of Islamic civilisation, including the role played by religious values in that process. He has also studied in great detail a particular Islamic value across history: the duty of every Muslim to tell people off for violating God's law (al-amr bi`l-ma'ruf).

His publications include The Koran (in the OUP "Very Short Introduction” series, 2000), Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought, (Cambridge, 2000) and Forbidding Wrong in Islam: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2003).

FREE.  Seats allocated on a first come, first served basis.

What is Fundamentalism – and what threats does it pose to today’s world?

Conference, Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

This conference is in three parts. The first session will explore the definitions and origins of Fundamentalism, including a look at its roots in American Protestantism and an examination of what constitutes the Fundamentalist mindset.

The second session will look in more detail at different kinds of Fundamentalism – through the eyes of experts on Islamic, Jewish and Hindu religious and cultural traditions.

The final session will ask what the conditions are which are producing or reproducing Fundamentalism in today’s world, and whether dialogue is possible with Fundamentalists.  It will include present and historical perspectives on non-religious ideologies (e.g. Nazism, Khmer Rouge) and on Scientific Fundamentalism as well as the rising political influence of Fundamentalism in the USA, Israel, Pakistan, etc.

Speakers include:

Session One:

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch Kt FBA, Oxford University (chair)

Professor James Dunn FBA, Durham University

Professor Peter Herriot, City University

Malise Ruthven, author of Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning

Session Two:

Professor Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University and Religion and Society Programme Director (chair)

Ed Husain, Council on Foreign Relations 

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Movement for Reform

Professor Julius Lipner FBA, Cambridge University

Session Three:

Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy (chair)

Professor Peter Neumann, King’s College London

Karen Armstrong, author of Battle for God

Professor John Lennox, Oxford University


FREE but registration required.  Please visit www.britac.ac.uk/events

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