Why Fundamentalism?

9 December 2017

The journal FEMINIST DISSENT and CMRB (Centre for research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging) (University of East London) and the Centre for Gender Studies (SOAS) would like to invite you to a symposium on the question of

Why Fundamentalism?

Date: Saturday 9th December 2017

Time: 2pm to 4pm

Venue: Brunei Gallery, Room B102, SOAS, University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

This seminar will generate discussion about religious fundamentalist movements, their rise in recent years and the need to challenge them both here in the UK and around the world. 

The speakers will propose a definition of fundamentalism and explain the value of ‘fundamentalism’ as an analytical category that enables understanding of common political discourses, interventions and practices across different religions and diverse contexts. They will talk about the relevance of anti-fundamentalist politics for anti-racist and feminist theory and activism. By way of example, they will specifically discuss the rise and incidence of religious fundamentalism in the UK and in India.


Stephen Cowden is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Coventry University. He has been involved in left, anti-racist and trade union activism and he has worked as Social Worker from 1992. His research is concerned with Social Work ethics, Critical Pedagogy and the Sociology of Multiculturalism and Religious Fundamentalism.

Pragna Patel is Director of Southall Black Sisters and has been at the forefront of many high-profile campaigns on religious fundamentalism and violence against women, including the recent legal challenges to gender segregation. She is also one of the founders of Women Against Fundamentalism.

Rashmi Varma is an Associate Professor in English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. She has published numerous essays on feminist theory, activism and literature. She has also been a member of the anti-communalism group Awaaz-South Asia Watch.

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