Critical Secularism

At a moment in history when the world seems increasingly drawn into a violent clash of fundamentalisms, this boundary 2 special issue, Critical Secularism, brings together renowned figures in cultural studies and literary theory to critically rethink the narratives of secularization that characterize modern culture. Implicit within this collection is a consideration of the fate, in the twenty-first century, and in the postcolonial world, of the legacies of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. While recognizing the homogenizing tendencies of post-Enlightenment culture, these scholars collectively militate against a simplistic rejection of the Enlightenment and its theoretical legacies as mere tools of colonization, used to legitimize the domination of various cultural and ethnic others. Rather, these essays explore the potential that a renewal of secularism has for progressive culture and politics in this historical moment, when religiously inflected politics and violence are escalating around the globe.In this collection, prominent literary and cultural theorists discuss the crisis that secularist theory faces in postcolonial contexts, and-in a recuperative effort-focus on secularism from the perspectives of various marginalized groups (religious and cultural minorities, women, and colonized peoples.). Essays explore secularist expression across a range of cultural and literary texts- from Indian medieval lyrics to the contemporary fiction of the Levant. Other contributors offer critical reevaluations of previous scholarship on secularism, and plumb the relationship between literary criticism/theory and the politics of secularism.Contributors. Emily Apter, Rashmi Bhatnagar, Akeel Bilgrami, Rashmi Dube, Reena Dube, Renu Dube, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Willi Goetschel, Stathis Gourgouris, David M. Halperin, Gil Hochberg, Ronald Judy, Aamir R. Mufti, Edward W. Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak