Formations of the Secular

Formations of the Secular PDF Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804783098
Category : Religion
Languages : en
Pages : 401

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Book Description
“A dark but brilliantly original work . . . one of the most important books on religion and the modern in recent years.” —H-Net Reviews Opening with the provocative query “what might an anthropology of the secular look like?” this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis on the major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle commonly held assumptions about the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that while anthropologists have oriented themselves to the study of the “strangeness of the non-European world” and to what are seen as non-rational dimensions of social life (things like myth, taboo, and religion),the modern and the secular have not been adequately examined. The conclusion is that the secular cannot be viewed as a successor to religion, or be seen as on the side of the rational. It is a category with a multi-layered history, related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights. This book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars, as well as scholars working on modernity. “A difficult if stunningly eloquent book, a response both elusive and forthright to the many shelves of ‘books on terrorism’ which this country’s trade publishers are rushing into print.” —Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature “This wonderfully illuminating book should be read alongside the author’s Genealogies of Religion.” —Religion “One of the most interesting scholars of religious writing today.” —Christian Scholar’s Review “Asad’s brilliant study remains a defining piece of intellectual and scholarly contribution for all of those interested in exploring the religious and the secular in the modern era.” —The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

Formations of the Secular

Formations of the Secular PDF Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804747684
Category : Religion
Languages : en
Pages : 292

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Book Description
Opening with the provocative query “what might an anthropology of the secular look like?” this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis on the major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle commonly held assumptions about the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that while anthropologists have oriented themselves to the study of the “strangeness of the non-European world” and to what are seen as non-rational dimensions of social life (things like myth, taboo, and religion),the modern and the secular have not been adequately examined. The conclusion is that the secular cannot be viewed as a successor to religion, or be seen as on the side of the rational. It is a category with a multi-layered history, related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights. This book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars, as well as scholars working on modernity.

Formations of the Secular

Formations of the Secular PDF Author:
Publisher:
ISBN:
Category : Christianity and politics
Languages : en
Pages : 269

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Book Description


Secular Translations

Secular Translations PDF Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231548591
Category : Social Science
Languages : en
Pages : 199

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Book Description
In Secular Translations, the anthropologist Talal Asad reflects on his lifelong engagement with secularism and its contradictions. He draws out the ambiguities in our concepts of the religious and the secular through a rich consideration of translatability and untranslatability, exploring the circuitous movements of ideas between histories and cultures. In search of meeting points between the language of Islam and the language of secular reason, Asad gives particular importance to the translations of religious ideas into nonreligious ones. He discusses the claim that liberal conceptions of equality represent earlier Christian ideas translated into secularism; explores the ways that the language and practice of religious ritual play an important but radically transformed role as they are translated into modern life; and considers the history of the idea of the self and its centrality to the project of the secular state. Secularism is not only an abstract principle that modern liberal democratic states espouse, he argues, but also a range of sensibilities. The shifting vocabularies associated with each of these sensibilities are fundamentally intertwined with different ways of life. In exploring these entanglements, Asad shows how translation opens the door for—or requires—the utter transformation of the translated. Drawing on a diverse set of thinkers ranging from al-Ghazālī to Walter Benjamin, Secular Translations points toward new possibilities for intercultural communication, seeking a language for our time beyond the language of the state.

Formations of Belief

Formations of Belief PDF Author: Philip Nord
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691190755
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 340

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Book Description
For decades, scholars and public intellectuals have been predicting the demise of religion in the face of secularization. Yet religion is undergoing an unprecedented resurgence in modern life—and secularization no longer appears so inevitable. Formations of Belief brings together many of today's leading historians to shed critical light on secularism's origins, its present crisis, and whether it is as antithetical to religion as it is so often made out to be. Formations of Belief offers a more nuanced understanding of the origins of secularist thought, demonstrating how Reformed Christianity and the Enlightenment were not the sole vessels of a worldview based on rationalism and individual autonomy. Taking readers from late antiquity to the contemporary era, the contributors show how secularism itself can be a form of belief and yet how its crisis today has been brought on by its apparent incapacity to satisfy people's spiritual needs. They explore the rise of the humanistic study of religion in Europe, Jewish messianism, atheism and last rites in the Soviet Union, the cult of the saints in colonial Mexico, religious minorities and Islamic identity in Pakistan, the neuroscience of religion, and more. Based on the Shelby Cullom Davis Center Seminars at Princeton University, this incisive book features illuminating essays by Peter Brown, Yaacob Dweck, Peter E. Gordon, Anthony Grafton, Brad S. Gregory, Stefania Pastore, Caterina Pizzigoni, Victoria Smolkin, Max Weiss, and Muhammad Qasim Zaman.

Powers of the Secular Modern

Powers of the Secular Modern PDF Author: David Scott
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804752664
Category : Social Science
Languages : en
Pages : 380

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Book Description
This book presents a set of critical engagements by writers from a variety of disciplines with the work of noted anthropologist Talal Asad.

The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse

The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse PDF Author: Steven D. Smith
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674050877
Category : Language Arts & Disciplines
Languages : en
Pages : 308

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Book Description
"This book presses us to look harder at closely held beliefs and to question deeply rooted premises and commitments with which we are perhaps too comfortable."---Richard W Garnett Noire Dame Law School --

Genealogies of Religion

Genealogies of Religion PDF Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801895936
Category : Religion
Languages : en
Pages : 346

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Book Description
In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making."

Making Sense of the Secular

Making Sense of the Secular PDF Author: Ranjan Ghosh
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136277218
Category : Religion
Languages : en
Pages : 236

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Book Description
This book offers a wide range of critical perspectives on how secularism unfolds and has been made sense of across Europe and Asia. The book evaluates secularism as it exists today – its formations and discontents within contemporary discourses of power, terror, religion and cosmopolitanism – and the focus on these two continents gives critical attention to recent political and cultural developments where secularism and multiculturalism have impinged in deeply problematical ways, raising bristling ideological debates within the functioning of modern state bureaucracies. Examining issues as controversial as the state of Islam in Europe and China’s encounters with religion, secularism, and modernization provides incisive and broader perspectives on how we negotiate secularism within the contemporary threats of terrorism and other forms of fundamentalism and state-politics. However, amidst the discussions of various versions of secularism in different countries and cultural contexts, this book also raises several other issues relevant to the antitheocratic and theocratic alike, such as: Is secularism is merely a nonreligious establishment? Is secularism a kind of cultural war? How is it related to "terror"? The book at once makes sense of secularism across cultural, religious, and national borders and puts several relevant issues on the anvil for further investigations and understanding.

Lessons in Secular Criticism

Lessons in Secular Criticism PDF Author: Stathis Gourgouris
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
ISBN: 0823254860
Category : Religion
Languages : en
Pages : 216

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Book Description
Secular criticism is a term invented by Edward Said to denote not a theory but a practice that counters the tendency of much modern thinking to reach for a transcendentalist comfort zone, the very space philosophy wrested away from religion in the name of modernity. Using this notion as a compass, this book reconfigures recent secularism debates on an entirely different basis, by showing (1) how the secular imagination is closely linked to society’s radical poiesis, its capacity to imagine and create unprecedented forms of worldly existence; and (2) how the space of the secular animates the desire for a radical democratic politics that overturns inherited modes of subjugation, whether religious or secularist. Gourgouris’s point is to disrupt the co-dependent relation between the religious and the secular—hence, his rejection of fashionable languages of postsecularism—in order to engage in a double critique of heteronomous politics of all kinds. For him, secular criticism is a form of political being: critical, antifoundational, disobedient, anarchic, yet not negative for negation’s sake but creative of new forms of collective reflection, interrogation, and action that alter not only the current terrain of dominant politics but also the very self-conceptualization of what it means to be human. Written in a free and combative style and given both to close readings of texts and to gazing off into the broad horizon, these essays cover a range of issues—historical and philosophical, archaic and contemporary, literary and political—that ultimately converge in the significance of contemporary radical politics: the assembly movements we have seen in various parts of the world in recent years. The secular imagination demands a radical pedagogy and unlearning a great many established thought patterns. Its most important dimension is not battling religion per se but dismantling theological politics of sovereignty in favor of radical conditions for social autonomy.