The fourth workshop in our series, Liberalism and Religion: Secularisation and the Public Sphere in the Americas, took place on 18 April 2012 in London. The workshop series brings together scholars who work on different parts of the Americas to examine themes related to the history of liberalism in a comparative context.
Following the pattern of previous sessions, the workshop was wholly discussion based: our commentators, Dr Austen Ivereigh (Catholic Voices) and Dr Natalia Sobrevilla Perea (University of Kent), opened the sessions with some reflections and questions about the papers that participants in the workshop had been able to read in advance. Papers were contributed by Prof. Roberto di Stefano (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Dr Trevor Stack (University of Aberdeen), Prof. Ricardo Martínez Esquivel (Universidad de Costa Rica) and Dr Gregorio Alonso (University of Leeds). Download the Programme (18 April) for further details.
The papers and the discussion helped to shine a critical light on several important issues and to highlight research areas that needed further investigation. Overall, the workshop participants emphasised the need to turn away from an oppositional conception of liberalism and religion in the context of Latin American state-building and to understand the overlapping and intertwined spaces that liberalism and Catholicism occupied in the public sphere in the nineteenth century. In addition, several avenues for future research were indicated, including how the relationship, by turns co-operative and conflictive, between liberalism and religion operated within local political and social institutions. Above all, the comparative framework of analysis helped discussants to think about the larger origins and consequences of Church-State conflicts across the region in terms of political discourse, institutional structures, and social identifications.
Download the full conference report for further information. And please leave a reply in the comments section!