Travelling ideas and shared practices of secularism in decolonising South and Southeast Asia
Author: Clemens Six
To what extent was the evolution of secularism in South and Southeast Asia between the end of the First World War and decolonisation after 1945 a result of transimperial and transnational patterns? To capture the diversity of twentieth-century secularisms, Clemens Six explores similarities resulting from translocal networks of ideas and practices since 1918. Six approaches these networks via a framework of global intellectual history, the history of transnational social networks, and the global history of non-state institutions. Empirically, he illustrates his argument with three case studies: the reception of Atatürk’s reforms across Asia and the Middle East; translocal women’s circles in the interwar period; and private US foundations after 1945.
Author: Clemens Six

Abstract

This essay discusses in how far we can understand the evolution of secularism in South and Southeast Asia between the end of the First World War and decolonisation after 1945 as a result of transimperial and transnational patterns. In the context of the growing comparative literature on the history of secularisms around the globe, I argue for more attention for the mobility of ideas and people across borders. Conceptually, I suggest to capture the diversity of 20th century secularisms in terms of family resemblance and to understand this resemblance less as colonial inheritance but as the result of translocal networks and their circuits of ideas and practices since 1918. I approach these networks through a combination of global intellectual history, the history of transnational social networks, and the global history of non-state institutions. Empirically, I illustrate my argument with three case studies: the reception of Atatürk’s reforms across Asia and the Middle East to illustrate transnational discourses around secularism; the role of social networks in the form of translocal women’s circles in the interwar period; and private US foundations as global circuits of expertise. Together, these illustrations are an attempt to sustain a certain degree of coherence within globalising secularism studies while at the same time avoiding conceptual overstretch.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and Politics
Author: Clemens Six

Abstract

This essay discusses in how far we can understand the evolution of secularism in South and Southeast Asia between the end of the First World War and decolonisation after 1945 as a result of transimperial and transnational patterns. In the context of the growing comparative literature on the history of secularisms around the globe, I argue for more attention for the mobility of ideas and people across borders. Conceptually, I suggest to capture the diversity of 20th century secularisms in terms of family resemblance and to understand this resemblance less as colonial inheritance but as the result of translocal networks and their circuits of ideas and practices since 1918. I approach these networks through a combination of global intellectual history, the history of transnational social networks, and the global history of non-state institutions. Empirically, I illustrate my argument with three case studies: the reception of Atatürk’s reforms across Asia and the Middle East to illustrate transnational discourses around secularism; the role of social networks in the form of translocal women’s circles in the interwar period; and private US foundations as global circuits of expertise. Together, these illustrations are an attempt to sustain a certain degree of coherence within globalising secularism studies while at the same time avoiding conceptual overstretch.

In: The transnationality of the secular