“ÉDUCATION ET SÉCULARISME: PERSPECTIVES AFRICAINES ET ASIATIQUES” – publication from 2013 conference (SARI research group, France)


In May 2013 the University of Cergy-Pontoise, near Paris, hosted a conference on ‘Education and Secularism’, thus bringing to the fore two of the major challenges of today’s globalised world. The conference, held under the auspices of the Cergy-based research group SARI (Societé d’Activité et de Recherche sur les mondes Indiens), brought together scholars of diverse provenances in a multicultural context to present and discuss aspects of secularism, education and the interaction between the two in India, the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.

 This event has now borne fruit in the volume ÉDUCATION ET SÉCULARISME: PERSPECTIVES AFRICAINES ET ASIATIQUES, co-edited by SARI members Evelyne Hanquart-Turner and Ludmila Volna and published by Éditions L’Harmattan of Paris (2013 – ISBN 978-2-343-01916-1). It is published as part of the collection ‘Discours identitaires dans la mondialisation’ (general editor: Michel Naumann).

 A notice of the book may be found at:


The articles are based on their authors’ papers from the conference, and appear (there is one exception, in English) in French, having been translated where necessary from English. All articles have an abstract in English; there is an introduction by the editors. Here is the table of contents:

The authors are as follows:

  1. Jacques Coulardeau (Synopsis PAIE-CEGID-Nice-Boulogne-Billancourt)
  2. Michel Naumann (Universiy of Cergy-Pontoise, President of SARI)
  3. Ana García-Arroyo (University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain)
  4. Shruti Das (Berhampur University, India)
  5. Subhendu Mund (IIT Bhubaneswar, India)
  6. Belkacem Belmekki (University of Oran, Algeria)
  7. Vijay Kumar (Maharsi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India)
  8. Neema Ghenim (University of Oran, Algeria)
  9. Dhana Underwood (University of Liverpool, England)
  10. Michel Naumann (Universiy of Cergy-Pontoise, President of SARI)
  11. Debashree Dattaray (Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; article in English)
  12. Sumedha Dhani (Maharsi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India)
  13. Fewzia Bedjaoui (University of Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria)
  14. Cruz L. Bonilla (University of Granada, Spain)
  15. Christopher Rollason (independent scholar, Luxembourg)
  16. Jitka de Préval (University of Paris I – Sorbonne Nouvelle)

On a personal note, I believe I may remark that Chapter 15 (pp. 197-2010) is my own paper from the conference, ‘“Shalimar the Clown”, de Salman Rushdie, récit laïque: une éducation séculaire et syncrétiste’ (pp. 197-210). The original English version of this paper, ‘Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar The Clown”: A Secularist Manifesto?’, is available on-line on my personal site at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/RushdieShalimarCergyEN.pdf  – see also entry on this blog for 4 June 2013 (includes abstract in English).

 In addition, I translated (from English to French) the paper by Shruti Das (Chapter 4), ‘Un programme scolaire multireligieux pour une éducation séculariste: la restructuration du “National Curriculum Framework” indien en 2005’ (pp. 49-66; original title: ‘Multi-Faith Curriculum for Secular Education: Restructuring the National Curriculum Framework 2005’).

 I can vouch from the conference that the papers and debates were of a consistently high standard and stimulating nature, and therefore feel able wholeheartedly to recommmend this volume of essays that represents its outcome: much about multiple and surprising traditions of secularism and forms of education can be learned from its pages!


Note added 15 May 2014.

The English-language version of my paper on ‘Shalimar the Clown’ has now also been published in India. For details, see entry on this blog for 15 May 2014.