”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.
|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.|
|1999|| Smithsonian Institute, Smithsonian Associates Program, Campus on the Mall, Washington, D.C.|
Associate Professor for Ethics and Catholic Social Thought, School of Catholic Theology, University of Graz
|1990-1992|| Fellow at the Catholic College "Kommende" in Dortmund, Germany|
|1992-2001|| Assistant Professor, University of Graz|
|since 2001|| Associate 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)|