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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Workshops with S. Mahmood and D. Hervieu-Leger | May 5th and 6th, 2011

As part of the Islam in Europe and America Conference (May 4-6, 2011), the Mellon Interdisciplinary Committees in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences and the Committee for the Study of Religion invite Graduate Students from all departments to two Workshops:
  • May 5th, 2011, 10:00am: Saba Mahmood, Workshop: "Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech," Skylight Room
  • May 6th, 2011, 10:00am: Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Workshop: "Religion as a Chain of Memory," Room 5307
Saba Mahmood's research explores historically specific articulations of secular modernity in postcolonial societies, with particular attention to issues of subject formation, religiosity, embodiment, and gender. Mahmood's book, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (2005), addresses some of these issues through an ethnography of a women's piety movement that is part of the larger Islamist movement in Egypt. Mahmood also studies secular-liberal interpretations of Islam in the context of the Middle East and South Asia and explores the writings of early twentieth century and contemporary Muslim reformers who have attempted to integrate key precepts of liberal political thought within Islamic modes of reasoning and argumentation.

Prior to participation in the Workshop, attendees should read Professor Mahmood's "Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?" in Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech. Optionally, participants may read Judith Butler's "The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood" and Professor Mahmood's "Reply to Judith Butler" in the same volume. For a copy of these chapters, please contact Berna Zengin Arslan,

Daniéle Hervieu-Léger is former President of and Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Her work focuses on changing role of religion in modern Europe. Professor Hervieu-Léger challenges conventional assumptions concerning the secularism of contemporary Europe, and shows how the problem of the sacred remains unsolved. Her recent publications include Catholicisme. La fin d'un monde (2003); Le Pèlerin et le converti. La religion en mouvement (1999); Les identités religieuses en Europe (co-editor, 1996); La religion pour mémoire (1993).

Prior to participation in the Workshop, attendees should read Chapter 3 of Prof. Hervieu-Léger's Religion as a Chain of Memory, "The Elusive Sacred." For a copy of the chapter, please contact Koby Oppenheim,

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