13th Pieter Gillis lecture by Tariq Modood

Intercultural engagements and controversies: how can intellectuals help?

17 February 2020

13th Pieter Gillis lecture by Tariq Modood

What does "intercultural dialogue" mean at the macro level and at the micro level? Modood explains what "public intellectual engagement" means and discusses, among other things, the Satanic Verses affair. He shows how Islamophobia can be dealt with.


Tariq Modood: I explain what is meant by ‘intercultural dialogue’ and how, while at a micro-everyday level it is associated with interculturalism, at a macro-level  it is foundational to multiculturalism. Intercultural dialogue at this macro-level enables it to be intellectual and political and not merely personal or social interaction. I relate intercultural dialogue, therefore, to political theory, while contrasting it to the model of reason dominant in political theory. I focus on a distinctive form of public intellectual engagement, namely when intellectuals who are grounded in academic disciplines may choose to deploy their disciplinary perspectives to engage with fellow citizens on civic and not merely academic concerns. I use the ‘The Satanic Verses affair’ as an example of an occasion for the manifestation of intercultural public intellectual engagement but conclude by suggesting that the challenging of Islamophobia must be done in a way which also allows space for dialogue with reasonable criticism of Islam and Muslims.