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Reclaiming Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference

Rethinking Culture, Race, Religion, Class, Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Globalisation


Yolande Jansen

Members of the research group

dr. R. Celikates
dr. H.Y.M. Jansen
dr. M. Kanie B.J. de Kloet
dr. M.M. Leezenberg
N. Martin MA
L.E. Mazurski MA
dr. N. Roei
dr. K.V.Q. Vintges

Description of the research programme of the research group

Recently, on a global scale, cultural-political questions connected to globalisation and migration have increasingly been turned away from being treated in terms of cultural interaction and diversity and/or political and political-economic relations and inequalities. Issues at stake tend to be framed in terms of shifting boundaries between secular and liberal values, or even civilisations, and more orthodox religious ones. Differences then also tend to be geographically located in terms of the relation between liberal and secular Euro-America and a religious outside, in particular with regard to the Global South. Migrants are frequently seen to represent postcolonial, religious Otherness within Europe. This research group reflects on the effects of this increasingly dominant framework for understanding multicultural questions and the politics of difference. It rethinks the intersections between race, religion, sexuality, class and gender in the context of neoliberal cultural globalisation. It aspires to answer the question of how to conceive of non-reifying multicultural politics, and how to reclaim multiculturalism as a project of hope in the context of neoliberal cultural globalisation.
Members of the research group explore the various ways in which longstanding contacts between the Middle East, Europe and Asia have influenced and transformed cultural, religious and political discourses and practices in European, Asian and Middle Eastern contexts, while especially focusing on the interpretations of these interactions in contemporary public reflection. Another field is to reflect on the position of ethno-religious minorities in Europe, and on the position of Jews and Muslims in particular, as two distinct minorities with highly complex, interconnected and variable religious, political, cultural and ethnic dimensions, which tend to become the objects of social and cultural exclusion and discrimination. We also study the ways in which the position of women has become highly politicised in the socalled ‘clash of civilisations’, and in particular we study the ways in which women from various backgrounds themselves deal with globalisation, especially in the context of recent developments in the Middle East. More generally, we explore how in recent decades both feminine and masculine gender identities have changed, and how discourses of homo- and heterosexuality, and of normality and perversion, have been instrumentalised to legitimate or contest national and religious identities in an increasingly global arena. The research group’s work forms part of a broad, fundamental, international rethinking of the relationship between religion, secularity, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and race in the context of globalisation.

Envisaged results

Volume ‘Islam in Europe: Beyond the Secular-Religious Divide’, eds Yolande Jansen and Michiel Leezenberg. Book project ‘Provincializing Philosophy’. VIDI-application and application recently submitted to the NWO programme ‘Religion in Modern society’.
Film documentary on Moroccan Feminism (Andreu / Vintges) (2013)
Book project ‘Re-writing The Second Sex from a global perspective (Vintges, 2014) PhD dissertation – (supervision P.Peters/ F.Sadiqi)/ co-supervisor: K.Vintges (2013) International partners: Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, England; Sindre Bangstad and Jonas Jakobsen (Norway); Volker Heins and Riem Spielhaus (Germany); Esther Benbassa (France); Anne Norton, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Gil Anidjar (U.S.) Moha Ennaji (Fes), Fatima Sadiqi (Fes)

Work plan and time schedule

We organise bimonthly reading sessions of participants’ papers and articles.
Time span: five years Edited volume: to be submitted 2013. Book length study: To be submitted 2014.
Journal articles. VIDI-application 2013 and perhaps 2014.
Application submitted to NWO ‘Religion in modern society’ programme: 2013-2018.

Societal relevance

The intersected position of ethno-religious and sexual and gender minorities in a global context is a topic of concern on local, national and global levels. This research group analyses the intersected position of postcolonial, migrant, sexual, gender and Jewish and Muslim minorities which have been subject to complex trajectories of racialisation, culturalisation and orientalisation in various regions of the world, and which are at risk of severe forms of discrimination, being increasingly framed in terms of a secular-religious opposition. The researchers involved in this research group disseminate the results of their work outside the academy, in public debate, and for public organisations.

This research group is active in the following constellations: