“We develop in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies. To say this is to state the obvious. There is no religiously homogeneous society.” Akeel Bilgrami has invited commentary on his recent working paper about the nature and relevance of secularism in which he advances a central thesis that begins with the conditional phrase, “Should we be living in a religiously plural society.” In this post, I offer a response to his thesis convinced, like Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, author of the quotation with which I began, that there is no such thing as a modern religious monoculture.Read the rest of There is no such thing as a monoculture.
Justin Neuman is assistant professor of English Literature at Yale University, where he works on twentieth and twenty-first century literature and culture. His interests in religion and globalization are reflected in two current book projects. No Faith in the Secular: Reading for Religion in Global Fiction analyzes the influence of religious and secular cultures on the novels of the past quarter century. A new project, Crude Culture: Literature in the Oil Age, investigates corporate archives and literary fictions in order to track the shifting ways writers, companies, and governments have imagined the oil industry. Read Justin Neuman's contribution to The naked public sphere?
Posts by Justin Neuman:
Under its congressional mandate to “examine and report upon the facts and causes relating to the terrorist attacks…[and] make a full and complete accounting of the[ir] circumstances,” the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the 9/11 Commission Report, begins with a narrative timeline. In the simple past, in a voice devoid of interiority but rich in temporal data, the Report tracks movement in time and space.Read the rest of 9/11 chronomania.
For a brief moment in 2007, news of a hit Iranian television series, whose Farsi title was translated variously as Zero Degree Turn or Zero Point Orbit, proliferated across the print and digital mediascapes of the Anglophone world. The series, created by Iranian director Hassan Fathi at great expense and broadcast in a thirty-episode season on the flagship state television station IRIB1, revolves around a Romeo and Juliet plot of illicit romance, with a distinctive twist: while the proverbial Romeo is one Habib Parsa (played by Iranian hearthrob Shahab Hosseini), a Muslim Iranian pursuing his studies in France, his Juliet is none other than a Jewish classmate, Sarah Astrok (played by the French actress Nathalie Matti), with whom he falls in love.Read the rest of Beyond denial.
Like many contributors to Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, I share the sense that Taylor’s account of Latin Christianity demands greater attention to its global entanglements. Specifically, I am concerned with tracking the processes whereby reconciliation was bound up with the concepts, practices, and vocabulary of ubuntu during South Africa’s transition to non-racial democracy, and how, in turn, ubuntu has come to inflect the social imaginary of Taylor’s Latin Christianity.Read the rest of Ubuntu, reconciliation, and the buffered self.
Why should we conclude that God’s love for human beings takes the form of attachment love as opposed, for instance, to the agape love dominant in the Christian tradition? Why should we conclude that God loves us at all? And if God and God’s love exist, why should we conclude that God loves every human being equally?Read the rest of Not a foundation but a raft.
The heated exchange in this forum between Stathis Gourgouris and Saba Mahmood raises a basic question about conviction through which the relationship between critique and the secular can be approached from a different angle: can we be committed to—can we believe or have faith in—a particular position, idea, religion, etc. and nonetheless be fully critical toward it?Read the rest of Critique and conviction.