Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity
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.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Wheatland - LibraryThing
The book is a collection of previously published and new material that exposes the meaning of the secular and secularism. The author calls it "an anthropology of the secular." As it is very difficult ... Read full review
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Abduh action agency agent American anthropology Arab argue authority behavior belief body Cambridge chapter Christian citizens civil claim colonial concept constituted contemporary courts critics cruelty culture defined discipline discourse divine doctrine domain Egypt Egyptian Enlightenment essential ethics Europe European experience fiqh freedom Hent de Vries human rights Ibid Ibn Taymiyya idea identity individual Islamic Islamists J. G. A. Pocock language liberal liberal democracies London Malcolm X matter means ment modern moral Muhammad Muhammad Abduh Muslims myth mythic narratives nation-state nineteenth century Oedipus Oxford particular poetry political practices precisely principle punishment question Qur'an R. G. Collingwood reason reform regarded relations religion religious responsibility Richard Tuck sacred Safwat secular secularist sense shamans sharia simply social society sovereign space suffering sufism texts theological theory things thought tion torture tradition University Press violence Western words