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The concept of modernity can be analysed from various points of view. A sociological perspective sees modernity as the historical era arising from feudal society’s profound transformation processes and that, starting with the Protestant Reformation, sees the emergence of the new bourgeoisie..

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Generally speaking, “Christianity” means the ensemble of churches, communities, sects, groups, but also the ideas and concepts following the preaching of he who is generally considered the founder of this religion, Jesus of Nazareth, a travelling preacher from Galilee, born between 4 B.

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In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power.

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Few concepts are both so controversial and recurrent within the philosophical and cultural debate as the concept of relativism.

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The process resulting in the definition of one’s own identity – hence an “us” – in an oppositional manner by, explicitly or implicitly comparing ourselves with “others”, is considered a universal movement in every society.

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Dialogue of Cultures

Changing traditions

Pope Benedict XVI: a brave gesture that challenges tradition

Giancarlo Bosetti

“An act of bravery” is the most appropriate definition of a gesture, the resignation of Benedict XVI, which has left everyone speechless, although there have been a few clues in the past that never, however, became more than faint rumours about a remote possibility, just one of many rumours in circulation, almost fiction. This is instead a real “act of bravery” as one should describe all gestures challenging tradition within a religious denomination, all the more so if this “within” is at the very top and the decision concerns the head of that tradition and of its liturgy. This was a challenge that in a vain attempt to search for precedents harked back to the end of the 13th century and the resignation of Pope Celestine V.

Resetdoc remembers a friend and a colleague

Krzysztof Michalski, a man of dialogue between East and West

Giancarlo Bosetti

Krzysztof Michalski, who died at the age of 64, was the promoter of one of the most dynamic cultural centers in Europe. A native of Warsaw, Poland, his real center of gravity was in Vienna, at the Institute of Human Sciences, which he founded and was also the dean of. He divided his life between these two cities and Boston, where he was a professor of philosophy. Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations has lost a great friend, an authoritative member and a precious advisor in our scientific committee.


Education City, a dream trying hard to become reality

Alma Safira

Sheikha Mozah, second wife of the emir of Qatar, appears to have embarked on an ambitious project with an uncertain outcome, involving teaching her citizens to play a leading role in the country’s life and not just that of privileged spectators. There are only 300,000 Qataris out of about 1.8 million inhabitants and they form a wealthy minority, the wealthiest in the world, but one that does not contribute to Qatar’s economic life. The intelligent sheika’s ultimate objective is to ensure that the emirate’s economy does not continue to rely only on its enormous reserves of gas but also on know-how.

IT Newtown tragedy

The First Amendment, something too hot from Newtown to Tunis?

Giancarlo Bosetti

The ‘mirror game’ with a finger pointed at differences, those reciprocally intensifying conflict between the East and the West, mainly concerns freedom. There are reasonable people in the United States who, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, not only rightly reacted with indignation, demanding restrictions be imposed on the sale of automatic weapons as well as on the power of the lobbies supporting this traffic, but who also went a step further, moving the issue – as explained here by Jim Sleeper – from the American Constitution’s Second Amendment (the one guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms) to the First Amendment, which addresses fundamental freedoms such as religion, politics, the press and assembly, as well as freedom of speech in general.

IT Newtown Massacre

Gun Lovers, as 'Normal' Now as Segregationists Once Were

Jim Sleeper

New revelations about reckless gunfire in Newtown, CT over the past two years have blown a .357 magnum-size hole in the town's reputation as a peaceful, close-knit community. The astonishing "new normal" of heavy gunfire that took hold in Newtown long before last week's massacre only reinforces the parallel I drew here last week between today's gun enthusiasts and yesterday's racial segregationists.

IT Newtown Massacre

Obama's Speech in the Wake of the Newtown Massacre

Benjamin Barber

On Friday, December 14th, President Obama addressed the nation in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. as a parent. Here is the speech I believe he needs to give to Americans now as president:

IT Iran

Economic crisis and sanctions; is this the countdown for Ahmadinejad?

Antonella Vicini

Tehran - A little more than a month has gone by since the street protests, clashes and arrests at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar. The reasons that led Iranian merchants to take to the street are still at work in the country. They have now taken second place and been outclassed by news of the elections in the United States and protests against the detention of bloggers in Iranian jails. But many issues are still unresolved.

IT Dialogue of Cultures

Faith to the Test of Provocation and Fanaticism

Nouzha Guessous*

Certainly freedom of opinion and expression are the basis of human rights recognized by everyone. If it were not for the adage “everyone’s freedom stops where it begins for others” does not apply to freedom of opinion, which includes the freedom to criticize other opinions. I recognize and defend the right and freedom to criticize, including religions, but at the same time I defend the ethics of criticism. Criticize does not mean insulting or denigrating and the freedom to criticize does not exonerate one from the right to respect in a way one consults or refers to others. As far as faith and religious beliefs are concerned, the sensitivities of believers can be very easily be provoked and unleash disproportionate reactions.

Orientalism revisited

Orientalism Revisited - download the program


Venice Delhi Seminars - October 18-20 2012

Reset- Dialogues on Civilizations

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Multiple Paths to Modernity

From our archive

Each cultural and denominational tradition, including Islam and other religions, is susceptible to lead to an internal elaboration of its own democratic and pluralist approach to modernity. Four leading scholars explain how and why this happens.Turkey, Secularism and the EU. A View from DamascusSadik J. Al-AzmReligion, Unity and Diversity Ibrahim KalinWhither Democracy? Religion, Politics and Islam Fred DallmayrDemocracy and Islam Irfan Ahmad


Islam and Democratic Dialogue

From our archive

Can Islam accomodate democracy? Reset-Dialogues addressed this question years ago, during the 2008 and 2009 editions of Istanbul Seminars. But today the Arab spring and the success of Islamic parties in several countries show that the relationship between Islam and democracy still is a matter of great interest. Therefore we chose three important essays from our seminars to discuss this subject in depth.The Qur'an, Islam and MuhammadNasr Hamid Abu Zayd*Islam: the Test of GlobalizationAbdelmajid Charfi*The Multiple Histories of Secularism: Muslim Societies in ComparisonNader Hashemi*

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