Rik Pinxten

Exciting speaker on actual themes.
Interculturality versus multiculturality

Professor Hendrik Pinxten (1947) studied philosophy and ethical studies at the R.U.Gent, Belgium. He was guest professor at Northwestern Univ., Chicago, and at Syracuse Univ., NY, Univ. Vienna, Austria. Field work: Navajo Indians, USA; Turkish immigrants, Europe. He became a researcher at the N.S.F. of Belgium in 1972 and ordinary professor at Ghent University in 1983, till 2012, in Cultural anthropology and the Study of religion. He did research on cognition, religion and culture , in a comparative perspective.

Founding editor of ‘Cultural Dynamics’, London, 1988- now, and published some 15 books (e.g., Anthropology of Space, UPennPress, 1983; Culture and Politics, Berghahn, Oxford, 2004; The Creation of God, Lang, Frankfurt, 2010), and some 150 articles in journals in different languages. Pinxten is an exciting speaker, who can inspire an audience on very actual themes.


For years now this author promotes the idea that the mixing of cultures is not only a fact, but also an opportunity. He is opposed to multiculturalism, which does not bring communities together. Instead he promotes interculturalism. This implies a strong dialogue between different communities, while safeguarding the identity.

In 1988 he started the scientific journal ‘Cultural Dynamics’. Experts from different disciplines combine research in structural inequalities across cultural borders. He was also for many years the chair and promoter of the Center for Intercultural Communication and interaction (Cici) at the University of Ghent, guiding research on identity, interculturality , diversity and intercultural education.


‘The stripes of the Zebra’ : the book ‘Strepen van de zebra’ focuses on the philosophy of Enlightenment, and how the organizations of freethinkers and humanists in continental Europe and abroad do not really elaborate the deep search of Enlightenment, but got entangled in side issues such as the scarf discussion. Between 2003 and 2010 Pinxten was the national chair of the Humanist Federation of Flanders (H-VV).

Free speech

Apart from papers and books on interculturality Pinxten wrote books on his experience with Navajo Indians of the USA (Anthropology of Space, UPP,), mathematics education and culture (Multimathemacy, Springer, NY).
His book ‘The artistic society’ won him the ‘Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord’ in 2004, recognizing his continuous struggle for free speech and thought.

Cosmopolitics and diversity

Diversity, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion

The Interdependence between regions and peoples of the world is becoming a basic feature if the globalizing world we live in today. More than ever the unity of humankind is becoming clear to us. At the same time, not all ways of life and thought are becoming one and the same. In the perspective of cosmopolitics, this dual way of life becomes possible: we have to learn and reconcile the global unity of humankind with the relative and subsumed local identity of each and every tradition. The latter can only be thought and lived with respect to the laws and agreements at the global level. The emergence of the so-called ‘dialogical person’ may be an important step in this development towards ‘unity in diversity’.

Beautiful protest: beyond TINA.

International, Globalisation, Diversity, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion

Neoliberalism is a vampire ideology, promoting the privileges of the 1%, against the rights of the 99%. The 1 % is busy destroying a lot of things: environment, Human Rights solidarity, and so on. The upcoming rightist government in the West go for a return to pre-Enlightenment social life, and a more merciless attitude towards poor and less privileged citizens in the West and elsewhere, because ‘There is No Alternative’ (TINA). This view is attacked by means of data and analysis. At the same time the development of so)-called ‘New Commons’ is pointed at as a possible innovating solidarity driven alternative to this narrow view on world and society.

Religion and fundamentalism

Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion, World

The present world harbors at the least some 4000 different religions. Among these Christianity, Judaism and Islam are the only one which start from texts, a holy book. However, many other religions work with a notion of god, or without the attitude of belief, but go for practices, for faith and for spirituality instead.
A scientific study of religion is possible, once we try to overcome the book-religion categories in our research. Fundamentalism will then be understood properly, and might be surpassed with appropriate insights and ethical education. Finally, atheistic religiosity and spirituality can be understood in its own right, instead of as a mere opponent of a few religions, namely the religions of the book.

Rites of passage and comparative study of religion.

Diversity, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion

Baptizing, having a celebration with marriage, organizing a ritual around deaths, etc.. all of these are structured and phrased in ‘rites of passage’, the world round. However different cultures and religions may be, the rituals of passage are abundantly one and uniform around the world. Among these several non-religious rites are emerging in the (post)modern world we enter.

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Languages of the keynote
English, French, Dutch