Our list on secular studies is anchored by Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, published in 2007. The book begins with a simply phrased question that captures the spirit of inquiry behind Pitzer’s new endeavor: “What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age?” More simply asked than answered, of course.
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The book can fairly be said to have galvanized scholarly inquiry into secularism, and any new work on the subject must reckon with Taylor. One we published ourselves is a collection called Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, which we’d informally considered something of a user’s manual for A Secular Age. Edited by Michael Warner, Jonathan Vanantwerpen, and Craig Calhoun, and with contributions from Robert Bellah, Wendy Brown, Taylor himself, and nearly a dozen others, it’s another volume that should make it into the hands of Pitzer’s majors.
We also recently published Steven D. Smith’s The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse. Smith argues that public discourse has been drained of force and authenticity because religion was formally forced out but is then usually “smuggled” right back in. If we’re to remain a society that engages in profitable open discussion, Smith says, we’ll have to figure out a way to free discourse from the constraints imposed by secularism.
Other volumes on the list include Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society and Robert Bellah’s forthcoming Religion in Human Evolution. Continue reading here.