The aim of this project is to bring researchers from various disciplinary and cultural backgrounds together in order to query and cross the boundaries of 20th century ‘secularism’. Through this process, the project seeks to find possible arenas within which we can develop an adequate language for discussing the contemporary and historical experiences of ‘spiritual realities’.
In the era of globalisation, questions relating to the ‘locations of spirituality’ need to be (re)addressed in order to explore such issues as impact of religious fundamentalism and the search for a ‘sense of belonging’ in (post)colonial societies. Furthermore, these questions relate to long debated issues of ‘otherness’; from signalling the ethical and methodological impossibility of representing ‘the other’ to the struggle for the possibility of communicating with ‘the other’. Is it possible to express, discuss, and write about inter-subjective spiritual experiences across cultural, political and historical boundaries, given the histories of colonisation, appropriation and religious conflicts which exist in the world today? Is it possible to set out some frameworks to enable mutual trust in order to facilitate a cross-cultural dialogue between true equals? If not, what are the pre-conditions for facilitating this type of communication in the future?
For example, the concept of ‘post-secularism’ can be one of the keys to explore the limits of secularism. Up to now, debates over post-secularism have been largely confined within the convention of Christian theology. Expanding these debates into the field of humanities in general holds the possibility of moving beyond the Reductionism of spiritual experiences into ‘beliefs’. Therefore, the project aims to find (or develop) a shared language that enables us to discuss the process of inter-subjective ‘spiritual experiences’ based on cultural difference and interactions.
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