Wonder is a uniquely human characteristic. It can express our best endeavours or take a turn for the worse. Religion and art have been vehicles for the expression of cultural achievement since the dawn of time, and both can generate wonder and awe within us. In mutual embrace they have created and embraced the public space.
This talk considers how these entwined aspects of culture have lost touch with each other, creating separate audiences who contest the public space and have lost touch with shared understanding. It considers how the legacy of secularism and imperialism continue to deform the public space, fracturing and fragmenting audiences, and impoverishing social discourse by losing touch with the mutual embrace of religion and art as representations of wonder.
Ziauddin Sardar is a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic. His numerous books include Postmodernism and the Other and Balti Britain: A Provocative Journey Through Asian Britain. A Visiting Professor of Colonial Studies at the School of Arts, the City University, he is a former co-editor of Third Text.