The secular body


23/02/2019 - 23/02/2019

The secular body :: © Inna Shevchenko, Dorothee Deiss, Barbara De Munnynck The secular body :: © Inna Shevchenko, Dorothee Deiss, Barbara De Munnynck

Secular societies have, in the process of becoming secular, liberated the body from the grip of religion, but at the risk of delivering it into the hands of market forces. Contemporary individualism has given people the autonomy to decide on the fate of their body during life and after death. However, the obsession with youth and appearance is subjecting the body to new constraints. Today, the return of religious identity, on the one hand, and the omnipresence of the market, on the other, combined with an obsession with looks, have exacerbated the tensions between emancipation and alienation. What does religion have to say about this? And what about women?


Born in Ukraine, journalist Inna Shevchenko is the leader of women’s rights organization FEMEN, with which she demonstrated in Ukraine and Belarus until she had to leave the country. She was granted asylum in France, where she continued her fight for equality and further developed FEMEN as an international movement. Despite being the victim of torture and attempted murder, she ardently continues to give lectures and participate in debates.


Seyran Ates is a Turkish-German lawyer, women's rights activist and author. She is committed to the defense of victims of religious and tradition-bound violence in Islamic countries, more specifically Turkish and Kurdish women suffering from domestic violence. She founded the liberal Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, where she invites both women and men to debate and reflect on religion. Her texts focus on the (in)equality between man and woman, Islam and integration.


Lebanese literary and head of the Center PEN Liban, Iman Humaydan is committed to the defence of freedom of speech for Lebanese writers and intellectuals. Her books speak of domestic violence, religion and war, but do so in a hopeful manner, focusing on personal strength and the quest for meaning.

Flagey, Le Soir, RTBF, ULB, VUB

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