Seminar & Book Review of A Mirror for Our Times

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Room 313, Rose Bowl, Civic Quarter, Leeds Metropolitan University LEEDS, LS1 3HB

Prof Paul Weller

Universities of Coventry and Derby, and Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford

26th September 2008 marked the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of The Satanic Verses controversy – a controversy that in many ways became paradigmatic for the following two decades. Taking as its starting-point the opening two years of the controversy, Paul Weller’s book uses the events and arguments of those years as a lens through which to view what later developed, both in relation to the controversy itself, but also its wider entails, and the incidents and issues through which aspects of the original controversy were reprised.

The anniversary of the controversy presents a good opportunity to review the incidents, issues and debates of the time in some historical perspective, while also connecting them with subsequent incidents that have reprised some of the key themes, such as the ‘cartoons’ controversy, the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, and the killing of the Dutch filmmaker, Theo Van Gogh.

The book holds up a mirror for our times that will be of interest to academics, politicians, students, and religious believers, as well as to all who are engaged with the twenty-first century challenges posed by living with radical difference, freedom of expression, and mutual respect, with exploring the relationship between religion and secularity, and with overcoming the threats posed by religiously informed violence.