Lowe Lecture: Dr. Robert Crews
Debating the Afghan Secular: The Politics of Dissent, Diaspora, and Religious PluralismBookended by the onset of the "Global War on Terror" in 2001 and the Taliban return to power in 2021, Afghan society has changed in dramatic ways over the past two decades. Amid the violence of insurgency and counter-insurgency as well as the expansion of education, a dynamic mediascape, and electoral politics, Afghans developed new religious sensibilities. Minority Shi'i communities claimed a public role for their religious rites on a scale unprecedented in the history of the country, while numerous intellectuals advanced subversive agendas ranging from anti-clerical critiques of the Islamic establishment to the defense of religious diversity, secularism, and even atheism. Surveying the development of a remarkably pluralistic and diversified religious landscape in Afghanistan, this lecture traces the emergence of these new religious and anti-religious sensibilities over the last two decades and reflects on what they might mean for Afghanistan's future.
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