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Grand Course 2020

1.5 (with option for 3 more) EC 06 Nov 2020

NOSTER Grand Course 2020


Update 4 November 2020: The Masterclass will take place as scheduled, on location (Fletcher Hotel Amersfoort) from 10:00-12:30 hours. Lunch will be provided.

The Grand Course consists of two events: 1) a Masterclass with Arie Molendijk on “Exploring the Postsecular” on Thursday 5 November 2020 from 10:00-12:30 at Fletcher hotel Amersfoort and 2) the NOSTER 25th Anniversary Conference on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 November 2020 on Zoom. NOSTER will provide a live connection from Amersfoort during the afternoon programme on Thursday, participants are expected to join the Friday Zoom session from their homes. If you wish to participate in the Grand Course, please register only on the current page; please do not also register for the conference.

Teaching staff: Dr. Daan Oostveen (UU) will chair the masterclass with Professor dr. Arie Molendijk (RUG).
Course description: The Grand Course consists of a masterclass and a conference. The programme of the conference can be found here. As to the masterclass: Theories of secularization are contested. Instead, many speak of a post-secular state of affairs when it comes to the relationship between religious beliefs and the public domain. But what do we mean by this term ‘postsecular’? Revisiting the work of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor and Talal Asad, among others, Professor dr. Arie Molendijk, Professor of the History of Christianity and the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Groningen, criticizes the apparently binary approach to the relation between religion and secularism in the academic debate. In a masterclass, ReMA students and PhD candidates will get the chance to discuss this concept with Professor Molendijk. Some of his own texts as well as the sources that he uses will be read in preparation, allowing participants to trace and evaluate his position.
Course objectives: This course aims at enhancing participants’ understanding of the concepts of postsecularism (masterclass) and religion (conference).
Learning goals: The participant is able to critically review Molendijk’s evaluation of the concept of the postsecular in relation to the position of another scholar that Molendijk engages with, as well as the three conceptualisations of religion that will be discussed at the conference.
Preparation: Please read the following preparatory readings (pdfs are provided in the column on the right once logged in) and fill out the Preparation section of the PRA-Form provided in the column on the right and submit this before 2 November 2020:

• Arie L. Molendijk (2015). “In pursuit of the postsecular.” International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76(2), 100-115.
• Arie L. Molendijk (2017). “The Study of Religion in the Netherlands.” Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 71(1), 5-18.
In addition, prepare questions based on literature that Molendijk engages with in his article on the postsecular:
• Charles Taylor, “What Does Secularism Mean?”, in: Dilemmas and Connections, Cambridge, MA / London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011, pp. 303-325.
• 1-3 other texts of choice, taken from the bibliography of Molendijk’s “In pursuit of the postsecular”, with a total of approximately 100 pages.

Teaching methods: The masterclass will consist of a moderated discussion with Arie Molendijk, based on (but not limited to) the questions prepared and submitted through the PRA-Form.
Assessment methods: Participants are required to submit the NOSTER Preparation, Reflection and Assessment Form (Preparation before 2 November 2020, complemented with a Reflection before 21 November 2020) in order to acquire 1,5 EC. Complimentary papers (for 3 additional ECs, 2500-3000 words) related to the theme of the masterclass or the conference should be submitted before 9 January 2021. These papers will be assessed by Arie Molendijk or the NOSTER Office. The exact theme of the paper will be defined in consultation with the NOSTER Office and (if applicable) with Professor Molendijk. Please inform the NOSTER Office upon registration if you wish to write a paper.
Participation and registration: A maximum number of 20 participants can register for this event. Once you have created a personal account on this website and have logged in, you can register for the Grand Course by clicking the green “Register for this item” button on the right before 29 October 2020. Please note that if due to unforeseen circumstances you are unable to attend, please inform the NOSTER office as soon as possible and before 29 October 2020 at the latest. If you fail to notify the NOSTER office of a cancellation you will be charged €50.
Costs: Participation is free for ReMA students and PhD candidates registered at NOSTER or at any other research school in the Humanities. For others, the fees are €150 For more information about membership and costs, click here (for ReMA students) or here (for PhD candidates).
Venue: The masterclass will take place offline only at Fletcher Hotel Amersfoort (lunch included). In the afternoon, participants will stay at this venue in order to follow the conference via Zoom together. Participants are expected to follow the Friday morning programme of the conference from home.
Credits and workload: 1.5 EC (42 hours) for the Grand Course (masterclass and conference). Participants can earn 3 more ECs (84 hours) for a paper linked to the theme of the masterclass or the conference.


  • 05 Nov 2020 10:00 17:00
  • 06 Nov 2020 10:00 12:45
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