Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Secular powers and heretic undercurrents in a God-fearing world. A Lecture

In this lecture - which you find as a transcript and an audio link below - I think together some of my fieldwork in Egypt, and a critical anthropology of secularism that has emerged in the past years.  I argue that thinking about secularism as a form of discursive power that promotes specific subjectivities can provide a useful but partial understanding of various developments regarding state power, faith, and imagination that are going on in a God-fearing part of the world. Rather than trying to think them through the somewhat mystifying entity of “the secular”, I suggest that they may be understood in a clearer way as different shapes of the relationship between humans and God. Some of these shapes  correspond with a binary model that juxtapose Islamic and secular-liberal traditions as distinct, mutually external regimes; and some of them do not. I propose to add to the theme of secularism a more complex landscape of heresies and imaginative explorations that either unsettle a tradition from within, or have different concerns altogether.

Read complete transcript of the lecture published by Allegra Laboratory.

Listen to original sound recording by Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network:

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