On Thursday 7 April 2016 there will be two events at The University of Wollongong on the theme of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion – a Roundtable (2.30 – 4.30pm) and the LIRC Public Lecture (5 for 5.30pm)
The Roundtable is followed by the LIRC Public Lecture
Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression in contemporary multiculture
Date: Thursday 7 April 2016
Time: 5:00pm drinks, Lecture commences at 5:30pm
Location: Research Hub (19.2072)
Abstract: Recent freedom of speech controversies involving religious groups have established a widespread public impression that the right to freedom of expression and the right to religious freedom are in tension if not outright opposition. And yet, in every single human rights charter they appear side by side, as successive articles. Is this adjacency coincidental or merely conceptual? This lecture will argue that it is not, that their proximity to one another is historical and, in exploring this history, we can see that the contemporary view that they are in tension is relatively recent. Looking at how the First Amendment of the US Constitution came into being, it is possible to show how, over the course of two centuries, shifts in the understanding of each liberty has profoundly formed and shaped understandings of the other. The lecture will finish with some reflections on the implications of the contemporary view about these liberties and their effects on the inhabitants of multicultural liberal-democracies, especially religious minorities.
Biography: Anshuman A. Mondal is Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies at Brunel University London, UK. He is the author of four books, including Islam and Controversy: The Politics of Free Speech after Rushdie (Palgrave, 2014) and many essays, journal articles and book chapters on cultural politics, identity, religion and multiculturalism.
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