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 conscience 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 inflicted Islamic law Islamists language liberal democracies Malcolm X matter means modern moral Muhammad Muhammad Abduh Muslims myth mythic narratives nation-state natural rights nineteenth century niyya object Oedipus one’s Oxford pain particular poetry political practices principle Prophet punishment question Qur’an R. G. Collingwood reason redemption reform regarded relations religion religious represented responsibility Richard Tuck sacred Safwat secular secularist sense shamans shar‘a simply social society sovereign space suffering sufism theological theory torture tradition University Press violence Western