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Adam Dinham - Public Lecture

Mon, November 04, 2013

Location: University of Ottawa, Simard Hall, Room 125

Time: 4pm-5:30pm

Title: Religious Literacy Recovered: Talking Well About Religion After a Century of Secularism

Abstract: This talk will examine a context of public anxiety and ambivalence about faith as revealed in public policies and their related professional practices. Taking first of all the higher education sector in Britain as emblematic of wider concerns about religious faith and its place in the public sphere, the growing range of religiously-orientated policy demands on higher education institutions in the UK will be considered, along with the responses universities make to them. Specifically, four key policy 'arenas' will be looked at: equalities and diversity; widening participation and social mobility; student experience; and fostering good campus relations. Drawing on interviews, this talk will explore how these policies are viewed, how they have been responded to, and how religion and belief are engaged with. The talk will argue that universities are well-placed to lead a much better quality of conversation, inside and out the academy, which can help unpack public anxiety and ambivalence.

Bio: Adam Dinham is director of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is Professor of Faith & Public Policy and is currently Programme Director for the HEFCE 'Religious Literacy Leadership in Higher Education' programme. Recent publications include Faith and Social Capital After the Debt Crisis (Palgrave, 2012).

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