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Reclaiming Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference. Rethinking Culture, Race, Religion, Class, Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Globalisation

Reclaiming Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference. Rethinking Culture, Race, Religion, Class, Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Globalisation

Coordinator

Yolande Jansen

Participants

Michiel Leezenberg, Jeroen de Kloet, Karen Vintges, Mariwan Kanie, Robin Celikates, Noa Roei, Arash Ghajarjazi, Nawal Mustafa, Eva Meijer, Anna Blijdenstein, Matthea Westerduin, Christine Delhaye, (in cooperation with Thijl Sunier, VU).

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.

NWO-project ‘Critique of Religion; Framing Jews and Muslims in political theory and political debate in Europe’ (With Thijl Sunier, Matthea Westerduin, Anna Blijdenstein)

2 Dissertation Projects.

Book project working title ‘Political Philosophy and the Global Critical Humanities’.

VIDI-application 2017 ‘Religio-secularism and neoliberalism; elective affinities’.

Book project ‘Re-writing The Second Sex from a global perspective (Vintges, 2014)

International partners: Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, England; Sindre Bangstad and Jonas Jakobsen (Norway); Volker Heins and Riem Spielhaus (Germany); Esther Benbassa and Rim-Sarah Alouane (France); Anne Norton, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Gil Anidjar (U.S.) Moha Ennaji (Fes), Fatima Sadiqi (Fes); Yvonne Sherwood,

Work plan and time schedule

We organise monthly reading sessions of participants’ papers and articles. 
Edited volume: to be submitted 2017 
Book length study: To be submitted 2018.

Journal articles. VIDI-application

NWO-project in the ‘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.

Members of this research group are active in the following constellations:

Globalisation and Migration

Identities

Cultural and Social Critique