The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere represents a rare opportunity to experience a diverse group of preeminent philosophers confronting one pervasive contemporary concern: what role does—or should—religion play in our public lives?
Reflecting on her recent work concerning state violence in Israel-Palestine, Judith Butler explores the potential of religious perspectives for renewing cultural and political criticism, while Jürgen Habermas, best known for his seminal conception of the public sphere, thinks through the ambiguous legacy of the concept of “the political” in contemporary theory. Charles Taylor argues for a radical redefinition of secularism, and Cornel West defends civil disobedience and emancipatory theology.
Editors Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen detail the immense contribution of these philosophers to contemporary social and political theory, and an afterword by Craig Calhoun places these attempts to reconceive the significance of both religion and the secular in the context of contemporary national and international politics.
Each of the core essays was originally presented as a talk at a symposium co-sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, the NYU Institute for Public Knowledge, and the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University. The book also includes edited transcripts of dialogues between Butler, Habermas, Taylor, and West, which—along with the original audio—can be found below.
Translations of the text have been made into Dutch, German, and Spanish. Continuing the discussion at The Immanent Frame, Akeel Bilgrami responded to Charles Taylor’s chapter in The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, offering an alternative conceptualization of secularism in an SSRC Working Paper. Bilgrami’s working paper elicited a series of reactions of its own.
• Read an excerpt from Jürgen Habermas’s chapter on “The Political.”
• Read an article on the book by Scott McLemee in Intellectual Affairs.
• Read James Swindal’s review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
• Read Peter Gordon’s review in The New Republic.
• Read Christopher Lane’s use of the book at The Huffington Post.
• Purchase The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere at Amazon.com or Powell’s Books.