Space, Place and Difference: A New Ethics of Politics at the World Social Forum

The 2006-2007 Scarboro Foreign Missions Lecture

Religion has been a force for peace and human welfare; yet too much of the violence afoot in our world today is associated with—if not inspired by—religion. Unless the world religions can achieve greater mutuality and a common commitment to the life of the planet, they will continue to contribute to the divisiveness that threatens global civilization. Christian churches have engaged in ecumenical dialogue for almost a century now. Can this experience of inter-church encounter help Christians to meet members of the world’s religions with greater understanding and hospitality? And might inter-faith encounter bring new insight and courage to the Christian ecumenical movement?

Under the banner "Another World is Possible," the 2003 World Social Forum brought together 100,000 people from around the world to explore grassroots alternatives to corporate-led globalization and to organize a worldwide anti-war movement. Dr. Janet Conway will report on the January 2007 Forum in Kenya and she will examine the World Social Forum as a specifically cultural process, which is producing a new ethic of politics among social movements. Dr. Conway will review the origins and history of the World Social Forum to date and focus on the key concepts of "space, place and difference." The World Social Forum, she argues, produces a creative diversity of new practices and discourses among social movements.

Janet Conway

Dr. Conway is the author of Identity, Place, Knowledge: Social Movements Contesting Globalization (Fernwood Publishing, 2004). She is currently engaged in a five-year research project on the World Social Forum, focusing on the new democratic imagination emerging around the world in and through the praxis of 'anti-globalization' movements. She holds a PhD in Political Science from York University and teaches at Ryerson University in the Department of Politics and Public Administration. She specializes in the study of social movements and feminist politics.

Friday, March 9, 2007 - 7:30pm
Siegfried Hall(1036)