Culture and the Afterlife of Religion: Concepts of Secularization Today
21st January 2016
Recent discussions on the (post-)secular nature of ‚western‘ society or culture usually criticize a ‘simplistic’ or ‘unidirectional’ account of progressive secularization. But no alternative concept has yet emerged. It seems that the idea of ‘secularization’, as problematic or vague as it may be, might prove indispensable at least as the study of culture is concerned. For if we do no longer understand ‘secularization’ as a concept or a theory, but rather as a trope or a narrative, we cannot only revisit the past and present debates, but also develop new ways of studying cultural productions as texts, images, or practices which are neither clearly secular nor religious. I argue that this ‘afterlife of religion’ in culture is not only an important topic for future research but might help to unsettle the distinction between the ‘secular’ west and its ‘religious’ other that still determines and distorts our understanding of the global present.
Main Research Interests
- Interrelation of Religion and Literature
- Theories of Secularization
- History of Philology and Literary Theory
- German-Jewish Literature
- Gershom Scholem. Politisches, esoterisches und historiograhisches Schreiben. München: Wilhelm Fink 2003.
- Bibel und Literatur um 1800. München: Wilhelm Fink 2011.