British academy


What is Fundamentalism – and What Threats does it Pose to Today’s World?

Wednesday 27 February 2013, 9.30am - 4.45pm
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

This conference was in three parts. The first session explored the definitions and origins of Fundamentalism, including a look at its roots in American Protestantism and an examination of what constitutes the Fundamentalist mindset.

The second session looked in more detail at different kinds of Fundamentalism – through the eyes of experts on Islamic, Jewish and Hindu religious and cultural traditions.

The final session asked what the conditions are which are producing or reproducing Fundamentalism in today’s world, and whether dialogue is possible with Fundamentalists. It included present and historical perspectives on non-religious ideologies and on Scientific Fundamentalism as well as the rising political influence of Fundamentalism in countries including the USA, Israel and Pakistan.

Full printed programme

Session One: Definitions and Origins of Fundamentalism

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch Kt FBA, Oxford University (chair): Introduction

Professor James Dunn FBA, Durham University: The Roots of Christian Fundamentalism in American Protestantism

Professor Peter Herriot, City University: Exploring the Fundamentalist Mindset – the social psychologist’s viewpoint

Malise Ruthven, author of Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning: Fundamentalism in the 21st century

Session Two: Fundamentalism in Religions other than Christianity

Professor Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University (chair): Introduction

Ed Husain, Council on Foreign Relations: Islamic Fundamentalism

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Movement for Reform: Jewish Fundamentalism

Professor Julius Lipner FBA, Cambridge University: Hindu Fundamentalism

Session Three: Fundamentalism in the Modern World

Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy (chair): Introduction

Professor Peter Neumann, King’s College London: remarks

Karen Armstrong, author of Battle for God: remarks

Professor John Lennox, Oxford University: remarks

The conference was preceded on the evening of Tuesday 26 February 2013 by a keynote lecture on The Appeal of Islamic Fundamentalism, by Professor Michael Cook FBA.