UW Today

This is an archived article.

January 31, 2008

Globalization, religion is topic of talk

The Comparative Religion Program and The Center for Global Studies present Prof. Martin Riesebrodt from the University of Chicago speaking on Globalization, Religion, and the ‘Clash of Civilizations’, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in 220 Kane.


The theory behind the term clash of civilizations was originally formulated in 1993 by political scientist Samuel Huntington. It states that cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The term itself was first used by Bernard Lewis in an article in the September 1990 issue of The Atlantic Monthly titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage.”


For more than a century social scientists have predicted the demise of religion. The continued presence and global resurgence of religions have proven them wrong. Now, some predict that civilizations based on religions and their ultimate values will be the core of identity formation and future global conflicts. Can we trust this new prediction more than the former one? The lecture will discuss what went wrong with the secularization debate and why the “clash of civilizations” is not a necessary outcome of religious resurgence in a globalizing world, but rather a fundamentalist response to religious fundamentalism.


This is the first lecture in The Luce Lectures on Global Religions and Human Security and is additionally supported by the Founders Annual Lecture in Comparative Religion and Contemporary Life, the Jackson School of International Studies and the Department of Sociology.