Cécile Laborde (University of Oxford): "Who Needs Secularism? India, Liberalism, and Comparative Secularism"

Monday, Mar 11, 2019

April 4 | 4:30-6:00 pm | Computer Science, Lecture Hall 104

ABSTRACT: In this lecture, I reflect on the universal validity of the categories of secularism and religion. I do so by reference to the Indian case. I argue that secularism is a descriptively thin concept, and that it gains ethical depth only when subsumed under liberal ideals. If that is correct, we may not need the concept of secularism, neither as a descriptive comparative framework nor as a normative ideal. 

BIO: Before she joined the Department of Politics and International Relations in January 2017,  Cécile Laborde was a Professor of Political Theory at University College London, and a Lecturer at King’s College London and the University of Exeter. She holds a DPhil in Politics from Oxford. She was the founding director of UCL’s Religion and Political Theory Centre. She has held visiting positions in Paris and Princeton, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

She has published extensively in the areas of republicanism, liberalism and religion, theories of law and the state, and global justice. She has published 5 monographs and has written articles in major journals of political science and political theory. She is notably the author of Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France and Critical Republicanism. The Hijab Controversy in Political Philosophy (OUP 2008). Her last monograph, Liberalism’s Religion, is forthcoming with Harvard University Press in 2017.

Cécile Laborde is the convenor of the Nuffield political theory workshop.