Secularism, colonialism and the Enlightenment: European toleration and the rise of fundamentalism in South Asia

01 October 2007 → 30 September 2011
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • History
    • Theology and religious studies
  • Social sciences
    • Anthropology
India religion secularism political theory tolerance
Project description

Research hypotheses: the proposed research will build on three hypotheses that resulted from earlier research on the development of the liberal model of secularism and toleration: (1) The basic structure of this model fails to be neutral with regard to all religions, because it is conceptually dependent upon a Protestant framework, namely, the theology of Christian liberty and its ‘two kingdoms’.(2) The policy of religious toleration and neutrality of the British colonial state in India developed within this basic theological structure.(3) Hence, in colonial India, this model of secularism and toleration lies at the origin of the rise of Hindu fundamentalism. This leads me to new research questions and hypotheses.