Balibar argues for the idea of the universal against its particular dominant institutions. He questions the assumptions that underlie popular ideas of secularism and religion and outlines the importance of a new critique for the contemporary world. Balibar holds that conflicts between religious and secular discourses need to be reframed from a point of view that takes into account the cultural hybridization, migration and mobility, and transformation of borders that have reshaped the postcolonial age. Among the topics discussed are the uses and misuses of the category of religion and the religious, the paradoxical genealogy of monotheism, French la cit 's identitarian turn, and the implications of the responses to the Charlie Hebdo attacks for an extended definition of free speech. Going beyond circumscribed notions of religion and the public sphere, Secularism and Cosmopolitanism is a profound rethinking of identity and difference that seeks to make room for a renewed political imagination.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
One of our best European activist philosophers here considers the question of secularism, religion, and cosmopolitanism in a broad range: Islam, the historical contradictions of secularism in the Israeli state, the implications of French la cit , the history of the term 'monotheism' from European antiquity, and serious considerations of gender at every step. 'Generalized heresy as philosophical fiction' is, for Balibar, our persistent, repeated, heterogeneous, and collective political task of invention. Those of us trying to work away from the Abrahamic and toward the rural subaltern electorate find in Balibar a powerful ally.--Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, author of Death of a Discipline and Other Asias
Secularism and Cosmopolitanism is the textual equivalent of a rich ongoing seminar with one of our most erudite, astute living philosophers. In writings spanning more than a decade, Balibar opens rather than stipulates the meanings of religion, secularism, and la cit as well as those of universalism and multiculturalism. From the veil controversy to the Charlie Hebdo bombing, from reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau to reading Joan Scott, Balibar teaches us not what to think about contemporary religious-secular conflicts in Europe, but how.--Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
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