ACU has launched the Institute for Social Justice at the Sydney Opera House with remarks by Professor Charles Taylor on “Secularism and Multiculturalism”.
Professor Charles Taylor, one of the foremost thinkers of the last 50 years, and recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize (the “Nobel Prize of the humanities and social sciences”), the Templeton Prize, and the Kyoto Prize among numerous awards and honours, visited Sydney to launch Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) at the Opera House on Thursday April 28.
Established in 2014, the Institute for Social Justice reflects ACU’s commitment to social justice and the common good. It is comprised of innovative cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research programs, which will have significant academic and public impact on matters that concern all human beings.
“There is no one more appropriate to launch the Institute for Social Justice at Australian Catholic University than Charles Taylor, and we are deeply honoured by his recognition of ISJ as an important, intellectually sophisticated centre for the serious study of, and creative response to, the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century,” said ISJ Director Professor Nikolas Kompridis.
The launch of ISJ featured a lecture by Professor Taylor on ‘Secularism and Multiculturalism’, discussing the ways in which a flawed understanding of secularism has produced a backlash against multicultural policies and religious minorities.
During his stay at ISJ, Professor Taylor delivered two public lectures at ACU’s North Sydney Campus ‘The Language Animal’ on Friday 22 April and ‘Secularism and Religious and Spiritual Forms of Belonging’ on Friday 29 April.
In his first lecture, ‘The Language Animal’, Professor Taylor criticised the narrow focus on the information-encoding function of language in order to illuminate the creative, meaning-making power of language.
In his second lecture, Professor Taylor examined the opposing tendencies of religion in our times: the pluralisation of religious positions and the emergence of an ecumenical culture, on one side, and the use of religion as a marker of political identity and mobilisation, frequently accompanied by conflict and violence, on the other.