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Tale

The republic unsettled: Muslim French and the contradictions of secularism

Public lecture by Mayanthi L. Fernando, University of California Santa Cruz. Discussant: Heiko Henkel, University of Copenhagen.

Info about event

Time

Tuesday 13 December 2016,  at 14:00 - 16:00

Location

Moesgaard, Foredragssalen, room 4206-139

Contact

Department of Anthropology

This talk examines how Muslim French—i.e. those committed to practicing Islam as French citizens and practicing citizenship as pious Muslims—negotiate a social and political world in which they are imagined, a priori, as always already not-French because they are Muslim. It explores how this impasse is not only lived but also challenged by a post-immigration generation of Muslim civic activists. In so doing, it considers the ways that French secularism (laïcité) and French republicanism—and not Muslims—may be the real problems for pluralism. Rather than accepting the conventional narratives that laïcité entails strict neutrality and that the French nation is one and indivisible, the talk analyzes French secularism and French republicanism as “myths” that are historically fabricated but have real effects on the world. Through ethnography and critical historiography, it also reflects on new forms of public religiosity, national citizenship, and political possibility in France.

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