Academic Symposium – “Beyond ‘Sectarianism’? Towards an Alternative Understanding of Identity Politics and Communal Antagonism”

24-25 October 2019

Woolf Institute, University of Cambridge

Despite its prevalence in the academy and the public sphere, the term “sectarianism”, with its problematic normative and empirical assumptions, cannot do justice to the nuances and intricacies of individual and collective forms of subjectivity and belonging in the contemporary global age. In recent years, the rise of critical and post-culturalist approaches have contributed to the fracturing and fragmenting of identity scholarship, such that scholars working in different fields and from different epistemological and ontological premises struggle to find common theoretical and conceptual tools. Moreover, the study of “sectarianism” has come to be closely associated with issues of religious and communal violence, and as a result has overlooked or ignored the ways in which identity politics can contribute to forms of antagonism and belonging across a variety of different contexts.

This workshop brought together scholars working on issues of individual and group identity in order to work towards building a common conceptual and theoretical tool kit for the study of intra-communal antagonism.

The final programme is available to view here and a report of the symposium from Dr Degli Esposti is here.

Film of the keynote address by Professor Maia Hallward of Kennesaw State University will be available shortly.