Exploring Nonreligiosity, Atheism, and Secularism in Southeast Asia


Single Panel


Session 8
Wed 16:00-17:30 REC A2.05



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Our panel “Exploring Nonreligiosity, Atheism, and Secularism in Southeast Asia” aims to foster interdisciplinary discussions on the evolving dynamics of nonbelief and secular identities within the region.

Southeast Asia, recognized for its strong religious traditions, is undergoing a transformative shift as individuals with diverse perspectives on religion challenge conventional norms. Atheists, religious nones, and secularists are carving out their place in these pluralistic societies, prompting intriguing questions about social cohesion, political implications, and indigenous vs. external influences. We believe that this emerging discourse holds the potential to enrich our understanding of Southeast Asian religiosity and societal diversity. As we delve into this uncharted territory, we seek contributions from scholars across disciplines such as cultural anthropology, sociology, law, political science, and theology.

Key inquiries that our panel aims to explore include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • The negotiation of secular or atheist identities in religious contexts
  • The historical roots and development of atheism and secularism in Southeast Asia
  • Government and societal responses to these concepts in discourse, legal frameworks, and political arenas
  • The intersection of atheism and secularism with the region’s intricate religious tapestry.
  • Possibilities and challenges for integrating atheism within Southeast Asia’s plural societies
  • Novel avenues for social critique facilitated by atheism
  • The relevance and manifestations of secularism in Southeast Asian political landscapes