Keynote speakers

Mark Juergensmeyer, Professor of Sociology and Global Studies, Kundan Kaur Kapany Chair of Global and Sikh Studies, Fellow and Founding Director, Orfalea Center for Global & Int'l Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

The Global Rise of Religious Violence

In the global era, the quest for identity and certainty has given rise to new religious movements, some with strident and violent political agenda. This presentation explores the origins and future of movements as varied as ISIS and Hamas, Jewish extremists in Israel, Buddhist activism in Southeast Asia, and right-wing Christian militants in Europe and the US, based on interviews and case studies around the world. (Photo:

Line Nyhagen, Reader in sociology, Loughborough University, UK

Contestations of Feminism, Secularism and Religion

Secular and religious women have a history of fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Yet, feminist and women’s movements in the West are largely understood as secular and as rejecting religion, while ‘religion’ is often perceived as the antithesis of empowerment and emancipation. This talk problematizes the boundaries between feminism, secularism and religion by examining different secular feminist views on religion and contrasting views on feminism among religious women. Nyhagen argues normatively for a feminist political stance that defends both religious and secular women’s voices and their participation in democratic deliberation. (Photo: Loughborough University)

Lorne Dawson, Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at University of Waterloo, Canada and  Director of Canadian Network for Research On Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS)

Understanding the Role of Religion in the Radicalization of Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

This talk examines key insights gleaned into the process of radicalization leading to violence from three years of research involving interviews with jihadist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, and the families and friends of such fighters. Particular attention is given to the ongoing debates about the nature and relative significance of social and ideological factors in determining whether someone commits to becoming a fighter and potential martyr. Interpretive misconceptions about the role of religion in this regard are specifically addressed with an eye to counteracting pervasive religious and secular biases that may be handicapping programs to prevent violent extremism. (Photo: private)

Published May 4, 2018 11:37 AM - Last modified May 4, 2018 11:37 AM