Faculty of Arts and Education

Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation


CCG Special Seminars


March: Where Does a 'No' to Multiculturalism Leave Us? Reflections of European and Antipodean Realities

September: Muslim Revivalism and Failed Secularism in Southeast Asia

Muslim Revivalism and Failed Secularism in Southeast Asia

Assistant Professor Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied

Wednesday 28 September
Time: 12pm
Venue: C2.05 (Deakin University, Burwood Campus)

RSVP by Friday 23 September to citglob@deakin.edu.au


In this talk, I will discuss the failure of secularism and secularization in Southeast Asia, processes which have contributed to the return to religiosity among members of world religions. In its ideal form, secularism promotes tolerance, understanding, and cooperation between different groups, as embodied in a benevolent state and laws equal for all citizens. The track record of secular states throughout Southeast Asia in ensuring that secular ideals are upheld has been poor and this have provided the necessary conditions for the assertion of alternative conceptions of life and the organization of society, prominent amongst which, has been the loud calls for the implementation of the Syariah and the growth of religious movements and Muslim political solidarities. 


Khairudin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore. He gained his PhD in History, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He is the author of a number of books and has published extensively on Islam and Contemporary Malay Society, Religious Life of the Malays and Malays and Modernization

Where Does a 'No' to Multiculturalism Leave Us? Reflections of European and Antipodean Realities

Prof. Paul Morris
UNESCO Chair in Interreligious Understanding and Relations in New Zealand and the Pacific, Victoria University, New Zealand

Wednesday 16 March 2011
Time: 3.30pm
Venue: B - B2.20

RSVP by Monday 7 March to citglob@deakin.edu.au

Last week at the annual Asian Studies conference at Otago University, the president of the NZ Sikh Association reported that the NZ Sikh community had 'rejected multiculturalism' in favour of 'their rights as citizens'. This paper begins with the ensuring heated debate but continues to consider the alternatives to multiculturalism within the context of the its growing rejection in number of different polities. How serious are the critiques of multiculturalism? Is the choice between a monocultural, 'one law' regime and the existing multicultural policies? What drives the rejection of multiculturalism? How are we to understand the underlying causes of this discourse? These issues will be discussed will particular reference to NZ and Australia. 

Professor Paul Morris is UNESCO Chair in Interreligious Understanding and Relations in New Zealand and the Pacific at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand where he is Programme Director for Religious Studies. Professor Morris’ published research ranges from biblical studies to religion and politics in New Zealand. His recent publications include: New Rights/New Zealand (2005), Religious Diversity in New Zealand (2007, 2009); Religion in New Zealand Schools (2010); Religious Diversity in the New Zealand Workplace (2010); The Lloyd Geering Reader (2007) and Religion and Identity in New Zealand and Malaysia (2005). Earlier publications include award winning collections of New Zealand spiritual verse, Stranger in a Strange Land (2002) and Spirit Abroad (2004); Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity (1998); Detraditionalisation (1996); A walk in the Garden (1992), The Values of the Enterprise Culture (1992); and, Living Religions (1994). His current research is on religion, politics and human rights in the Pacific island nations, and on a monograph provisionally entitled, Democracy, Diversity, and Dialogue exploring the impact of increasing religious diversity on democracies, focussing on education, employment, media policies and politics.



Prof. Taher Ghalia - Cultural Identity and National Heritage in Tunisia
Dr Liezl Van Zyl - Virtue and Right: The Plight of the Non-Virtuous


Cultural Identity and National Heritage in Tunisia

Prof. Taher Ghalia
University of Tunisia & Director, National Bardo Mueseum Tunis, Tunisia
Tuesday 7 September 2010
Time: 12pm - 1 pm
Venue: C2.05 (Arts-Ed Meeting Room)

Forged by its three thousand years of history, Tunisia is a melting pot of civilizations and cultures as testified by its archaeological remains and collections. Today, this legacy from antiquity is not yet fully recognized and claimed by the majority of Tunisians who assume that there is no continuity between antiquity and the ancient Arab-Islamic culture. This lack of understanding of their origins is the result of a historical process dating back to the period of the French Protectorate (1881-1955) when the question of national identity was acute.

The Tunisian educational curriculum was torn between a commitment to modernism and to Arab Islamic culture with the former as the main tool for integration sought by the authorities of the Protectorate and the latter as a form of resistance. After independence the nationalist political discourse developed by Bourguiba highlighted a Tunisian identity based on the legitimacy of the struggle for independence and stripped of any reference to a rational historical process. Since the 1990s a new political discourse has been established whose main axes are the place of Tunisia within the Mediterranean with reference to its history and its past there and its multiple membership of the Arab-Islamic world.

This new direction is being developed through the ideological discourses in textbooks and through the re-interpretation of archaeological heritage sites and museum collections which are being used to help anchor a Tunisian cultural identity marked by openness, authenticity and tolerance of cultural diversity. The power of this ideology is at the heart of a shift in the cultural identity that characterizes contemporary Tunisian society, based on managing the tension between a modernity based on Western culture and the legacy of the Islamic culture.

Virtue and Right: The Plight of the Non-Virtuous

Dr Liezl Van Zyl
Senior Lecturer, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand
Thursday 16 September 2010
Time: 3.00 pm - 4.20 pm
Venue: C2.05 (Artsed Board Room) at Melbourne Burwood Campus and via Video Conference to jb2.107, Geelong campus at Waurn Pounds
Deakin University, Australia

Virtue ethicists have long been under pressure to show that, despite its focus on character, it is able to provide an account of right action. In response to this, Aristotelian virtue ethicists – most notably Rosalind Hursthouse – have defined an act as right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically do in the circumstances. In this paper I discuss two closely related objections to this criterion, both of which relate to the actions of the non-virtuous. The first is that virtue ethics fails to provide correct action guidance and assessment in cases that involve non-virtuous agents, for in some cases a non-virtuous agent should not do what a virtuous person would characteristically do. A second objection is that virtue ethics altogether fails to provide action guidance and evaluation whenever the agent, through previous wrongdoing, finds herself in circumstances in which a virtuous person cannot be.

Dr Liezl van Zyl's aim is to defend Hursthouse’s account of right action against these objections. She will do so by first drawing attention to the different senses in which the concept ‘right action’ can be used, namely as referring to(a) the act that ought to be done and (b) a good or excellent action. Where (a) is the relevant sense of right action when seeking action guidance, (b) is relevant when assessing an action. Dr Liezl van Zyl will then argue that if we understand ‘right action’ in the second sense, then Hursthouse’s criterion does allow us to accurately assess the actions performed by non-virtuous agents. Finally, when it comes to providing action guidance, Dr Liezl van Zyl agree that the criterion is inadequate, but argue that this problem can be avoided by viewing it solely as a means of action assessment while turning to the virtue- and vice-rules (v-rules) for action guidance.

Liezl van Zyl is a senior lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She teaches papers in moral and political philosophy, aesthetics and applied ethics. Her main research interests are virtue ethics and applied ethics, and her focus is on questions that arise when trying to apply virtue ethics. She is the author of Death and Compassion: A virtue-ethical approach to euthanasia (Ashgate, 2000), as well as numerous journal articles.

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31st August 2011