Varieties of Secularism

Via The Immanent Frame, over at the SSRC’s Varieties of Secularism program:

This past May the SSRC partnered with the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University to play host to an event on the “Varieties of Secularism.” Bringing together an impressive array of scholars, this one-day colloquium involved wide-ranging discussions of the relationships between secularism, politics, and religion. Discussion was stimulated by the remarks of six colloquium participants, each of whom was responding to recent and influential articles by Gil Anidjar (“Secularism,” Critical Inquiry 33:52, 2006), Jürgen Habermas (“Religion in the Public Sphere,” European Journal of Philosophy 14:1, 2006), Saba Mahmood (“Secularism, Hermeneutics, and Empire: The Politics of Islamic Reformation,” Public Culture 18:323, 2006) and Charles Taylor (“Introduction” to A Secular Age. Harvard University Press, Forthcoming 2007). Edited transcripts of each of the six presentations [by Talal Asad, Akeel Bilgrami, Simon During, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Colin Jager, and Jonathan Sheehan] can be downloaded…

At the Immanent Frame, comments by Simon During and Talal Asad are also available.  Asad:

Let me begin with Saba Mahmood’s paper, which I think is important, and talk about the idea of the “normative impetus internal to secularism,” as she puts it. Instead of seeing secularism as the solution to entrenched religious conflicts, instead of focusing on the notion of religious neutrality, say, she wants, in this paper and elsewhere in her work, to look at the way in which secularism informs foreign policy.