Roundtable on Fanaticism

DEF flag-logoeac-LLP_ENEurope has a long history of religious, political, racist and economical fanaticism that has had disastrous effects on the development of the continent. Today, fanatism is present in the tendencies towards nationalism and populism, religious movements, the call for strong leaders, exclusion of outsiders and minorities, intolerance towards different opinions and ways of life etc.

Castrum Peregrini has initiated a European project on the theme of Fanaticism (FIT) to map the theme and collect and create tools for self-awareness .

As part of the first partners meeting we want to invite the interested public, friends of Castrum Peregrini to participate in a roundtable talk and discussion with Ram Manikkalingam (Universiteit van Amsterdam) and Bert van den Brink  (University of Utrecht). Both give an introduction in the subject before they enter into a dialogue involving the public.

Vrijdag, 25 september ’09

20.00 uur

After sunset: Fanaticism!

Ram Manikkalingam
is the founder of the Dialogue Advisory Group, Amsterdam and a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam.  Until recently, he advised the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. He was Senior Advisor on the Peace Process to the previous President of Sri Lanka. He has served as an Advisor with Ambassador rank at the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations in New York. Prior to this he was an Advisor on International Security to the Rockefeller Foundation. He has a doctorate in political philosophy and a bachelors degree in Physics, both from MIT.

Bert van den Brink is professor for political and social philosophy at Utrecht University. His research interests are in democracy, power, recognition, pluralism, agonism and liberalism. Among his many publications are The Tragedy of Liberalism, State University of New York Press 2000, Reasons of One’s Own, Ashgate 2004 (ed. with Marc Slors and Maureen SIe) and Recognition and Power, Cambridge University Press 2008 (ed. with David Owen).

Please reserve a seat by dropping us an e-mail


FIT – working conference

FIT – Fanaticism Indicator Test

Project launch – first partners meeting – working conference

Castrum Peregrini and Goethe Institut in association with the Dialogue Advisory Group

Amsterdam 25 and 26 September 2009

Working language: English

As a practical conclusion drawn from the project application we suggest to work in three strands:

1)         on the general theme of fanaticism

2)         on the local/regional aspects of fanaticism (specific situation and practice of the involved partner organisations): couleur local; collection of best practice

3)         on measurement tools: the Fanaticism Indicator Test – development of methodology, questionnaire and online application

These three aspects give structure to all our project meetings, so that strand 1 is an ongoing discussion across all meetings (to be documented online) leading to a final (publishable) conclusion. Strand 2 highlights the situation of the partner institution hosting a meeting and the work of strand 3 would develop in-between the meetings by a working group set up during the first meeting. They would present and discuss their proceedings during all project meetings.

Ram Manikkalingam will follow the whole conference as an observer and will give critical feedback in the end.

Friday, 25 September

Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401

For project partners only:



Welcome by Lars Ebert
Introduction in weekend schedule and housekeeping announcements
Presentation of project objectives

Introduction of project partners (15 minutes maximum each)

Coffee break

Workshop: Problems and practice of involved partner institutions. (10 minutes each); Presentation and discussion. Chaired by Joachim Umlauf, director Goethe Institut Amsterdam

End of first session

Dinner at Brasserie Harkema (


20h00 – public part
Roundtable talk on Fanaticism 

Ram Manikkalingam (Universiteit van Amsterdam) and Bert van den Brink  (University of Utrecht) will both give an introduction in the subject before they enter into a dialogue involving the public.


Saturday 26 September

Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401

Workshop (Strand 1)
Joachim Umlauf, director Goethe Institut, Amsterdam
Definition of Fanaticism (in: Anthropology, Sociology, History, Literature, Performing Arts, Fine Arts etc.)

when and why does one gets fanatic?
why is one individual more vulnerable than the other?
what is needed to realise one has tendencies towards fanaticism?
when can you call somebody fanatic?

Coffee break

Workshop (Strand 3)
Presentation and discussion of the existing (Dutch) FIT, the ‘Weerbaarheidsmeter’;
Dirk Jansen, Chair Stefan Zweig Society

Lunch break (see list with suggested lunchrooms)

Goethe Institut, Herengracht 470

Breakout groups:

1) task force: Fanaticism Indicator Test; Dirk Jansen and Michael Defuster (Strand 3)

2) task force: collecting and making accessible of best practice; Lars Ebert and Joachim Umlauf (Strand 2)

Coffee break

Feedback by Ram Manikkalingam and discussion

End of afternoon sessions; meeting of responsible representatives of partner institutions to define date and agenda of next meetings. Signing of co-operation agreement.

Dinner at Goethe Institute

Film screening The Wave, with presentation of didactic material

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