”Pray during the night and be persistent in asking God to give you victory, control and conquest”, Mohamed Atta, one of the terrorists of September 11, 2001, wrote down before the attack on the World Trade Center Towers. Since 9/11 fundamentalism has been perceived by many mainly in its Islamic expression. This overlooks the fact that “de-secularization” (Peter L. Berger) and the rise of “strong religion” are almost universal phenomena that significantly predate the 9/11 attacks. Funda-mentalist movements can be found in all of the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Moreover, the term “fundamen-talism” is also used to describe absolutist tendencies in non-religious contexts.
This seminar is intended to acquaint students with theoretical and conceptual think-ing about fundamentalism and “strong religion”, to widen historical, psychological and sociological perspectives on these issues, and to illuminate a broad array of ques-tions and dynamics relating to the complex interplay of religion, culture and society. Some of the questions that will be addressed are: What are the social and cultural characteristics of “fundamentalism” and “strong religion”? What are the differences between religious “traditionalism”/”conservatism” and religious “fundamentalism”? Why have forms of religious fundamentalism grown globally? What are viable responses to these developments?
William D. DINGES
Professor of Religious Studies, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.|
Associate Professor for Ethics and Catholic Social Thought, School of Catholic Theology, University of Graz|
Professor of Religious Studies, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
|1969 BA in History, Fort Hays State University|
|1974 MA in History, Emporia State University|
|1976-1981 Teaching Assistant, Western Civilization Program, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas|
|1977-1981 Adjunct Faculty, Sociology Department, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas|
|1981-1982 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas|
|1982-1983 Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York|
|1983 Ph.D. in American Studies, University of Kansas|
|since 1983 School of Theology and Religious Studies, the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., Ordinary Professor (2006)|
|1984-1985 Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland, University College|
|since 1993 Fellow, Life Cycle Institute, Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.|
Associate Professor for Ethics and Catholic Social Thought, School of Catholic Theology, University of Graz
|1984-1990 Assistant Professor, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany|
|1990-1992 Fellow at the Catholic College "Kommende" in Dortmund, Germany|
|1992-2001 Assistant Professor, University of Graz|
| ||Visiting Scholar at Campion Hall, University of Oxford (1996), Fulbright Scholar at The Catholic University of America (2003), Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota (2007)|