The resurgence of religion, in particular that form of religious revivalism popularly referred to as “religious fundamentalism,” has had deep roots and a profound impact on global politics and society since the late twentieth century. The resurgence has occurred in all the world’s major religions and across the world, from Africa, North America and Latin America to the Middle East and Asia. The conventional wisdom in modernisation and development studies had been that modernisation required the secularisation of politics and society. As one prominent expert put it, the choice in the Muslim world was between Mecca or mechanisation! The reassertion of religion in politics and society signaled a process of de-secularisation which has seen religion as a major factor and challenge in domestic and international politics and society in many parts of the world. This lecture will look at the role and future of religion in global politics and in combating violent extremism and terrorism in the 21st century.
About the Speaker
John L. Esposito is University Professor, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies and Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and of The Bridge Initiative: Protecting Pluralism – Ending Islamophobia at Georgetown University. He is currently visiting RSIS as S. Rajaratnam Professor of Strategic Studies. His more than 55 books include: What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam; Shariah, What Everyone Needs to Know; The Future of Islam; Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think; Religion and Violence; Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam; The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?; Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring; Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century. Esposito’s writings are translated into more than 45 languages.
Past President of the American Academy of Religion and Middle East Studies Association of North America, Esposito has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and the E. C. European Network of Experts on De-Radicalisation, a Senior Scientist for The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, and ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, European and Asian governments, corporations, universities, and media worldwide.