Public Lecture: “The Significance of Islam in Modern Europe”

The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies at the University of Western Sydney invites you to attend the second in its 2012 Public Lecture Series:

‘The Significance of Islam in Modern Europe’

Speaker: Professor Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK

Date: Wednesday 14 March, 2012

Time: 13:30-15:00

Venue: UWS Bankstown Campus Building 1 Level 1 Room 119

Afternoon tea will served. Please RSVP to by Friday 9 March.


There are now sizeable Muslim communities in many European societies.  Their presence is a major topic of public debate, often for the wrong reasons.  This paper considers the disquiet that lies behind these not very well-informed commentaries; it then places the discussion in a broader perspective.  Several factors must be taken into account if we are to understand the significance of religion in modern Europe and the place of Islam within this.  They include cultural heritage; vicarious religion (the old model); a shift from obligation to consumption (the new model); new arrivals (including Muslims); secular reactions; and a rapidly changing global context.  Each of these factors will be taken in turn.

Grace Davie is professor emeritus in the Sociology of Religion in the University of Exeter.  She is a past-president of the American Association for the Sociology of Religion (2003) and of the Research Committee 22 (Sociology of Religion) of the International Sociological Association (2002-06).  In 2000-01 she was the Kerstin-Hesselgren Professor in the University of Uppsala, where she returned for the 2006-07 academic session and again in 2010.  In January 2008, she received an honorary degree from Uppsala.

In addition to numerous chapters and articles, she is the author of Religion in Britain since 1945 (Blackwell 1994), Religion in Modern Europe (OUP 2000), Europe: the Exceptional Case (DLT 2002) and The Sociology of Religion (Sage 2007); she co-author of Religious America, Secular Europe (Ashgate 2008), and co-editor of Predicting Religion (Ashgate 2003) and Welfare and Religion in 21st Century Europe (2 vols) (Ashgate 2010 and 2011).