The articles by Rogers Brubaker, Genevieve Zubrzycki, and Muhacit Bilici are all about the religious and secular self, and the religious and secular other, and about the relationship between the secular and the religious in processes of nation building, national rebranding, or nation repositioning. They are also about how nations and religious communities are constructed transnationally and about how that intersects with nation-building and nation-changing processes.
So how do these three analyses fit together and what do they tell us about religion and nationalism?
They are all about how ghosts or religious traces stay within the secular: How Catholicism stays present in Quebec and Christianity stays present in the Netherlands. But what more can we say about these ghosts? When are they bright and frightening, and when are they barely visible? What difference does it make when they are majority or minority? In Zubryzycki’s case, Jews are desirable and undesirable. For some, they are— along with secularists and communists—not fit for national belonging and, for others, they are a part of history that must be rescued because their perceived cosmopolitanism promotes a civic and secular version of the polity. So what would we gain by theorizing the different registers, valences, or traces of the religious in the secular—their visibility, invisibility, their size, the comfort or discomfort they invoke?