Secularism is a central feature of many constitutions. Over the last several decades, critical scholars have mounted highly effective challenges to secularism – arguing that it is ethnocentric and oppresses minorities. But the rise of populist and authoritarian nationalism movements, which have co-opted religious institutions and traditions, has given legal and political guarantees of secularism a new salience. These developments make understanding secularism, and whether and why it is valuable, particularly important.
This two-day workshop aims to create a forum for scholars (including graduate students) to offer and obtain feedback on new or ongoing theoretical accounts of secularism as a legal and political value. The workshop will be an opportunity to bring new voices and perspectives on secularism into conversation with the work of more established scholars. Importantly, it will be an opportunity for cross-disciplinary discussions on secularism. We aim for the workshop to extend beyond the typical legal jurisdictions studied (France and the US) to particularly invite theoretical scholarship on legal and political secularism in jurisdictions in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.