Exploring the "Post-Secular"

Henry R. Luce Hall, Yale University

There has been a great deal of talk in recent years suggesting that we have entered a “post-secular” age. But what, if anything, does the term “post-secular” even mean? Have we really entered into a post-secular age? And if so, what implications, if any, does this have for the social sciences? Do these developments imply a new approach to the study of religion? A wholesale reconstruction of social science? A shift towards social philosophy? Is there such a thing as “post-secular social science”? This conference brought together a number of analysts of religion and its entanglements with the world in an attempt to assess these questions. It addressed the possible meanings of religion and the various terms with roots in the term “secular”: secularism, secularity, secularization. Without some grappling with the question of what religion is, it is very difficult to say what secularity or secularization might entail. This conference explored the extent to which the “return of religion” is a product of an actual upsurge of religiosity around the world as opposed to greater scholarly attention to religion, and examined the ways in which the global religious situation may compel us to reconsider how we think about both religion and social science.