Rethinking Secularism is the title of a striking new collection of essays, edited by Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen that is rich with shrewd, and often detailed and intricate, discussions of the way the political and the social, the public and the personal, are threaded with, and frequently created out of, the interpretive, the symbolic, and the imaginary. It is also a book with whose central claim I could not be in fuller agreement: the religious and the secular do not designate different ends of a historical timeline, much less a simple binary, so much as different inflections of a process beginning, at least in the West, with the slow disintegration of Latin Christendom in the Late Middle Ages, and that we have come to recognize as the longue durée of the modern.Read the rest of Cultural models and Rethinking Secularism.
Giles Gunn is a Professor of English as well as Professor and Chair of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of F.O. Matthiessen: The Critical Achievement (1975); The Interpretation of Otherness: Literature, Religion, and the American Imagination (1979); The Culture of Criticism and the Criticism of Culture (1987); Thinking Across the American Grain: Ideology, Intellect, and the New Pragmatism (1992); as well as various essays on American and modern literature, critical theory, and intellectual and cultural theory.