José Casanova

José Casanova is professor of sociology at Georgetown University, a Senior Fellow in Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and heads the Berkley Center's Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular. His publications include “Rethinking Secularization: A Global Comparative Perspective,” The Hedgehog Review (2006); “The Long Journey of Turkey into Europe and the Dilemmas of European Civilization,” Constellations (2006); “Einwanderung und der neue religiöse Pluralismus. Ein Vergleich zwischen der EU und den USA,” Leviathan (2006); and “Religion, the New Millennium and Globalization,” Sociology of Religion (2001). He is a member of the SSRC working group on religion, secularism, and international affairs.

Posts by José Casanova:

Monday, April 26th, 2010

For and against proselytism

I view my task not as that of winning points in a debate on the grounds of logical or rhetorical argumentation. I concede defeat already. No layperson could ever win a debate with an American law professor, much less with Gerry Bradley.

My task is to complicate the framework and the context of our arguments. In fact, I would like to argue for and against proselytism simultaneously, not because of indecisive avoidance, wanting to both have my cake and eat it too, but because of a recognition of the tension between two goods.

I would like to divide the rationales for and against proselytism into three groups—theological, legal-juridical, and socio-cultural—and to argue both for and against proselytism on each of these grounds.

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Friday, December 7th, 2007

The great separation

stillborn11.jpgOne should be suspicious of any argument that presents the multiple alternatives facing contemporary societies around the world today as a simple binary choice between theocratic political theology (i.e., religious fanaticism) and secular political philosophy (i.e., liberal toleration). To present such a dichotomous alternative, as “the two ways of envisaging the human condition,” not only ignores the many other complex ways in which Western and non-Western societies have envisaged the human condition, but it views societies as individual actors facing existential choices, a rhetorically dramatic but rather problematic conception of human history and of the human condition.

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Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Secular, secularizations, secularisms

In discussions of secularism such as the one emerging here, I think it is important to begin with some basic analytical distinctions between “the secular” as a central modern epistemic category, “secularization” as an analytical conceptualization of modern world-historical processes, and “secularism” as a world-view. […]

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