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Study of Secularisms

GARRETT FITZGERALD

The engagement between modernity and religion is often presented through the use of binaries: secular and religious, public and private, liberalism and fundamentalism. But in a new volume, Muslimism in Turkey and Beyond, Turkish sociologist of religion Neslihan Cevik explores forms of religious engagement with modernity that resist these crude divisions, pointing instead to the possibility of a hybridity that blurs the lines between categories often viewed as diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive. Read the full article »

SLAVICA JAKELIĆ

Cevik is rightly careful about the future developments of Muslimism, as they depend on various factors (political, economic, religious). On my reading, this cautious approach also ought to be taken with any comparisons between Muslimists and, say, Pentecostals in Latin America or US Evangelicals. Any comparative work in this area needs to be alert to the possible simplifications and repetitions of the old subtraction narratives about the ultimate victory of the secularizing impetus in modernity. Read the full article »

NESLIHAN CEVIK

What Muslimists achieve is a conservative transformation of the concept of umma as something that has acquired throughout the ages an authoritarian style and conceptualization. It is not a rejection of umma or communal experience per se, but it is the demand that community, as an external source of power, is not the main agent of morality. For example, many Islamists see the hijab as a making symbol of Muslim community, a symbol that creates the Muslim community in its differentiation from others. Read the full article »

CECELIA LYNCH

In addition to admiration, Jakelic’s talk prompted two other reactions. First, I differ with her on the role of “power” -- in particular, her desire to move “beyond the discourse of power,” and I question whether her activists move beyond it, too. Second, I would ask her to address in more detail the problems and possibilities of fluid boundaries between religious and secular categories and identities. Read the full article »

HEATHER DUBOIS

Just as the identification ‘religious’ says only little in itself, there’s no such thing as the secular person. The Asadians are correct that these words come to life – have salience – in mutual tension. Like other identity categories, ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ are defined through historical use. The fact that someone is religious may seem unimportant to that person. Perhaps what matters in time x, place y is membership in St. Hedwig’s Polish Catholic Parish versus St. Casimir’s, a church equally Polish and Catholic. Read the full article »

KYLE LAMBELET

Can secular and religious actors engage each other beyond the discourse of power? Prof. Slavica Jakelić argued that they can. In a recent lecture, Jakelić recast the religious-secular binary as one of “enriching and chastening” exchange. Read the full article »

ATALIA OMER Full review can be found at the Journal of the American Academy of Religion Saba Mahmood's Religious Difference in a Secular Age examines how the institution of the modern secular liberal nation-state has impacted and transformed the regulation of religious difference in Egypt. Unlike the mythology of the modern liberal nation-state as a [...]