10 October 2009

Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age

In September I took part in a really amazing conference organised by Tom Crook (Oxford Brookes University) and Matthew Feldman (University of Northampton) -

Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age

I think that the topic of the conference, as well as the conference papers themselves, is revealingly indicative of the European academia's endeavours to understand humanity's prospects of spiritual (or "spiritual") development in a world where such terms as "spirituality" and "sacredness" have acquired so many meanings that it is no longer possible to be sure whether a person you are speaking to (in the same language!) agrees on meanings of the words you choose. Hence, the "modernities".

And, yes, the European academia, although there were scholars from the US and Australia. It's the Europeanised world, and the conference was Eurocentric. I don't see any trouble with that really. The call for papers was available for everyone after all.

My paper was on the modern Ukrainian nation that was born during the Orange revolution -

The Feast of Disobedience: Orange Gifts and the Sacred Birth of a Modern Ukrainian Nation

I tried to put aside my "political science expertise", if any, and focus on the ritualistic nature of the Ukrainian "revolution", its development outside the protest activities. The whole conference was recorded by the Academic Service unit of the Backdoor Broadcasting Company that specialises in web-casting academic conferences, symposia, public lectures, workshops and seminars in order to further the dissemination of academic research. So, all the podcasts of the conference papers are freely available through their web-site. Here's a direct link to my paper. I guess it is my only paper in which I did not actually use the word "fascism"! A nice departure, yeah. (Not permanent, of course.)

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very interesting, I will listen to this on Monday when I have the time!

    You are right that Western European (I guess that is what you mean by "European") academics, and people in general, have trouble understanding what's happening in the former Soviet bloc. But then we know much more now than we used to. When I left school in Norway, my picture of Eastern Europe was of a white field on the map with Soviet tanks on it...

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