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Garfield Forum for Undergraduates 2016: Religious Extremism and the Future of Liberal Societies

April 20, 2016 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
The CIRCLE, Old Union, 3rd floor

The 2016 Garfield Forum focuses on religious extremism and the future of liberal societies and features a keynote lecture by Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University), with responses by Eamonn Callan (Professor of Philosophy of Education, Stanford) and David Laitin (Professor of Political Science, Stanford).  Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and co-sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Office for Religious Life at Stanford.

Video of the event

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Both Europe and north America are currently confronting a wave of violent religious extremism, most notably Islamic extremism.  The threat is increasing, not decreasing. This lecture will begin by examining the nature and dynamics of religious extremism (both violent and non-violent). In the light of that it will suggest ways in which liberal democracies can deal with extremism without undermining their own values. Liberalism has become too complacent about how it handles religion, and how it promotes itself.  Both secular and religious liberalisms need to be defended afresh.

Linda Woodhead is Professor of the Sociology of Religion in the Department of Politics, Philosophy, & Religion at Lancaster University (UK) and Director of the Institute of Social Futures. She is an expert on religion, belief and values, and carries out social scientific research around the world.

Linda’s books include Christianity: A Very Short Introduction; Prayer in Religion and Spirituality; Everyday Lived Islam in Europe; Religion and Change in Modern Britain; A Sociology of Religious Emotions; Religions in the Modern World; The Spiritual Revolution. Her latest book is That Was the Church, That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People (with Andrew Brown of the London Guardian).

The Garfield Forum is an annual mini-conference focusing on a topic at the intersection of religion, ethics, and public life, designed in particular for Stanford undergraduates regardless of major. The forum is sponsored through the generosity of alumnus Howard Garfield. Past topics have included The Ethics of War in Christian and Islamic Perspectives, Transitional Justice; Religion and the Presidency; and Understanding ISIS.

Free and open to the public. For more information contact Prof. Brent Sockness.