Making Sense of the Secular – Critical Perspectives from Europe to Asia Monday, Oct 1 2012 

Prof. Ranjan Ghosh edited a volume on secularism in Europe and Asia, which was published with Routledge in October 2012 as part of the Routledge Studies in Religion. Together with D. Vancea (Ovidius University, Constanta), I contributed a chapter on Eastern Europe. The book is available on the Routledge site (

“This book offers a wide range of critical perspectives on how secularism unfolds and has been made sense of across Europe and Asia. The book evaluates secularism as it exists today – its formations and discontents within contemporary discourses of power, terror, religion and cosmopolitanism – and the focus on these two continents gives critical attention to recent political and cultural developments where secularism and multiculturalism have impinged in deeply problematical ways, raising bristling ideological debates within the functioning of modern state bureaucracies.

Examining issues as controversial as the state of Islam in Europe and China’s encounters with religion, secularism, and modernization provides incisive and broader perspectives on how we negotiate secularism within the contemporary threats of terrorism and other forms of fundamentalism and state-politics. However, amidst the discussions of various versions of secularism in different countries and cultural contexts, this book also raises several other issues relevant to the antitheocratic and theocratic alike, such as: Is secularism is merely a nonreligious establishment? Is secularism a kind of cultural war? How is it related to “terror”? The book at once makes sense of secularism across cultural, religious, and national borders and puts several relevant issues on the anvil for further investigations and understanding.”

Communist symbols are banned in Moldova Monday, Oct 1 2012 

Starting today, communist symbols are banned in the independent Republic of Moldova, a tiny former Soviet Republic. More importantly, communist symbols cannot be used by parties for electoral gain. In July, parliament passed a law condemning the communist totalitarian regime, which entered in force on October 1, after being review by the Constitutional Court. The law was a result of the work of a presidential history commission — the Commission for the Study and Evaluation of the Totalitarian Communist Regime in the Republic of Moldova — which worked in 2010 and produced a final report detailing the crimes and repression perpetrated by the communist authorities on Moldovan territory. The law was vehemently contested by the Party of Communists, which sees it as a “grave infringement of human rights.” According to the law, political parties that use communist symbols could be deregistered, while fines could be imposed on individuals using such symbols.