Robert Hefner

Robert W. Hefner is professor of anthropology and director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University. Hefner has carried out research on religion and politics in Southeast Asia for the past thirty years, and has conducted comparative research on Muslim culture and politics since the late-1980s. He is currently directing a collaborative project on “Shari`a Politics” in eight Muslim-majority countries. Read Hefner's contribution to Contending Modernities.

Posts by Robert Hefner:

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Varieties of religious freedom and governance

As Elizabeth Shakman Hurd’s and Saba Mahmood’s earlier contributions to this discussion remind us, the received wisdom in Western policy circles today emphasizes the necessary synergy between democracy and religious freedom. What I wish to suggest in my remarks here is not that this characterization is wrong, but that it is sociologically too simple, and that the oversimplification can result in ill-conceived prescriptions for pluralist religious freedom.

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Monday, April 21st, 2008

Secularism and the paradoxes of Muslim politics

Few books in Islamic studies have been as eagerly awaited or intensely debated prior to publication as Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im’s Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a. Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University, An-Na`im has for more than twenty years been a tireless proponent of a deeply religious but liberal-modernist reformation of Islamic politics and ethics. […]

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