Join Pace University and NYSEAN for a full day of presentations and a film screening of The Venerable W. Scholars and activists will present their work on a range of topics and questions:
How and what role are religious communities and leaders playing in civic life in Southeast Asia today? Politics in Southeast Asia is in a dramatic state of flux. Populist and anti-democratic rule has taken hold in the Philippines, there is continued military rule in Thailand, louder and more forceful activism from conservative Muslim groups is taking place in Indonesia, and leaders are using Islam for political purposes, and we see victory for opposition parties in Malaysia. These are just some of the political dynamics in today's Southeast Asia.
How and what role are religious groups playing in response to/or as a mobilizing force for these changes? For example, is there push back from the Church in the Philippines or from Buddhist groups in Thailand to the weakening of civil rights? Has religious practice or theology responded to political changes or are they driving them in some way? Are we seeing cultural (art, music, cinema, tv) responses to increased religiosity (in Myanmar or Indonesia for example)? What do these responses look like and where and from whom do we see them? Are there deeper historical comparisons that can be made by looking at earlier periods of religious identity formation and earlier ties between religious communities and ruling structures?
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