Beyond the Secular State: Secularism, Empire, Hegemony

Monday, November 14

6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

403 Jerome Greene Hall

Columbia University

New York, NY 10027

A roundtable conversation with Talal Asad, Etienne Balibar, and Mohamed Amer-Meziane

According to critiques, secularism is more exclusionary than emancipative. French secularism (laïcité) and its current relation to Muslims is widely considered as the paradigmatic example. But secularists often claim that such exclusions are not "really secular" and distort the truth of secularism. Their claim is given credit by the attacks against the idea of secularization emanating from "fundamentalist" religious discourses, some of which are violent indeed. However, seen from outside the Eurocentric West, this defense of secularism would be more convincing if secularists displayed a greater capacity to criticize their own tradition. This roundtable discussion will examine these questions from a genealogical, philosophical, and political perspective.

Talal Asad is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at CUNY; Etienne Balibar is currently a Visiting Professor at Columbia University; and Mohamed Amer-Meziane is a Research and Teaching Fellow at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University.

Event co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia Law School.

For more information on this event and to RSVP, please click here.