Religious Extremism and the Future of Liberal Societies | 10th Annual Garfield Forum

Wed April 20th 2016, 4:30 - 6:30pm
Event Sponsor
Department of Religious Studies, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, Office for Religious Life
The CIRCLE, Old Union, 3rd floor
Admission Information

Free and open to the public

Event Coverage:


The 2016 Garfield Forum focuses on religious extremism and the future of liberal societies and features a keynote lecture by Linda Woodhead (Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University), with responses by Eamonn Callan (Professor of Philosophy of Education, Stanford) and David Laitin (Professor of Political Science, Stanford).

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).