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Centre for European Research

‘Secular Power Europe’ and Islam

26 November 2019

Time: 12:00 - 1:00pm
Venue: Universiteit Leiden, Wijnhaven, Turfmarkt 99, 2511 DP The Hague,Room 3.16

This event is free attend. Please note that this event takes place in Universiteit Leiden, and the start time is 12:00 (GMT+1)

In this Jean Monnet EU Research Seminar, Sarah Wolff, director of the Centre for European Research at Queen Mary University of London, will explore Europe’s secular identity and how it influences the European Union (EU)’s foreign policy towards Islam. Europe is presently confronted to a rising religious world that claims that religion has a role to play in international relations. Europe is known to be a normative power, that promotes democratic norms and values, human rights, the rule of law. What happens when religion is claiming back a voice in international relations? In a rising religious world, how is secularism shaping the EU’s relations with Islam? Is Europe’s secular identity being strengthened by its foreign policy towards Islam? What are the consequences of EU’s secular view on the treatment of religion as an object of international relations?

Based on extensive fieldwork in Europe, the US and the Maghreb, Sarah Wolff will discuss the extent to which Islam disrupts the sense of order, security and continuity in which Secular Power Europe, as a self-narrative and a foreign policy practice developed by EU institutions and European governments. Drawing from ontological security she argues that Islam confronts the EU to some existential anxieties about its security and secular identity and how the EU and its diplomats are addressing the role of the religious in EU diplomacy.


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