Unveiling Colonialism in the Republic

A- A A+

Multidisciplinary Research Workshop taking place this coming Wednesday 14 March 2012 09.30-15.00.

Where: Max Weber Programme, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

Organizers: Daniel Lee and Inés Valdez.

In France, the controversy surrounding the veil and the full veil is now entering its third decade. After Belgium, France became the second country to ban the wearing of the burqa in public spaces.

It is likely that this measure, which came into effect in August 2011, will be contested in European-level courts in the coming months and years. Other European countries such as The Netherlands and Germany are currently discussing, or have considered implementing, similar measures in the past.

The goal of this workshop is to examine the contemporary controversy around the veil from a historically-minded perspective. We think the disciplines of the Max Weber Programme provide a privileged lens through which to tackle a complex issue that brings together questions of religion, racial difference, partisan politics and immigration, allowing us to examine the intersection between historical legacies and the current controversy. Thus the workshop will approach and illuminate the tensions and blindspots currently present in public discourse about the conflict between Republican values and Muslim religiosity. While this debate partly reflects conflicts over the “nation’s civil religion” and disagreement over collective values, it also reflects a history of colonialism that still resonates in the experience of post-WWII immigration, so far unacknowledged in discourses on secularism. Our interest is to probe into the capacity of the discourses of Republicanism – as currently deployed – to serve as an ideology of inclusion.


All are welcome to attend. For organisational purposes, kindly register with [email protected]