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Carlo Ginzburg: Secularism and Its Ambiguities. Three Case Studies

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Secularism and Its Ambiguities

Three Case Studies


Is the world we inhabit secular or religious – or both? Obviously, the answer  depends from the place we inhabit, from the social environment we belong, and also from the different meanings  attached to the word “secularism”. (Recently, I have been told that  in  India  “secularism” means  “openness to all religions”). But there  is no doubt that the relationship between secularism and religions – punctuated by tensions, contentions, hybridizations – is full of ambiguities. The aim of these lectures  is to contribute to a better (and badly needed) understanding  of these issues.


       December 4 -  II: Sacred Sociology


The second lecture will  deal with the Collège de Sociologie (Paris, 1937-1939) – a most relevant attempt  (not devoid of ambiguities, as Walter Benjamin remarked) to analyze the ideological components of fascism. Georges Bataille’s fundamental contribution to the debates of the Collège,  focused mostly on the notion of “sacred sociology”, has been repeatedly discussed, although often  in a narrow, self-referential perspective. The lecture will analyze Bataille’s approach in a wider (and longer) context, exploring both its antecedents and its implications.