Synopses & Reviews
In this volume, four leading thinkers of our times confront the paradoxes and dilemmas attending the supposed stand-off between Islam and liberal democratic values. Taking the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammad as a point of departure, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood inquire into the evaluative frameworks at stake in understanding the conflicts between blasphemy and free speech, between religious taboos and freedoms of thought and expression, and between secular and religious world views. Is the language of the law an adequate mechanism for the adjudication of such conflicts? What other modes of discourse are available for the navigation of such differences in multicultural and multi-religious societies? What is the role of critique in such an enterprise? These are among the pressing questions this volume addresses.
"This conversation among Asad, Brown, Butler, and Mahmood offers an important snapshot of the rich debates on post-secularism and critiques of secularism. These essays provide succinct and accessible discussions of key issues in these debates."-Annika Thiem, Villanova University
"I can't imagine a set of more rigorous, humane and insightful interlocutors on this vital aspect of the public sphere."-Jonathan Boyarin, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
"This original and provocative book is an invitation to go beyond political niceties and engage issues of religious difference with candor. Both scholarly and engaging, the book uplifts the level of public debate on the entanglement of religious and secular reasoning in the making of modern publics." -Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University
About the Author
is Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book is Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (Columbia, 2012).
Saba Mahmood is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Table of Contents
Free Speech, Blasphemy, and Secular Criticism
Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?
The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood
Reply to Judith Butler
Reply to Judith Butler