Secularity and Secularism, Islam and Muslims: A Conversation between Daniel Martin Varisco and Hasan Azad

Hasan Azad:  Do Muslims belong in the West? This is a question that is being asked with increasing force in Euro-America. Central to the way in which this discourse is being constructed are discussions about secularism. I’m interested in exploring notions of secularity and secularism and how such ideas—as they are articulated within a Euro-American context—are imagined in opposition to Islam and to Muslims. In other words, I wonder to what extent Islam and Muslims are politicized within Euro-American discourse as a means of expressing notions of secularism and secularity. Daniel Martin Varisco:  The term “secular” has been expanded beyond […]

An Interview with Shaun Casey, Part Two: Religious Studies and the State Department: Professor Casey’s Scholarly Influences

When Secretary of State John Kerry launched the new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives (OFBCI), he extolled the importance and urgency of religious studies:  “In fact if I went back to college today I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that’s how integrated it is in everything we are working on, and deciding, and thinking about in life today.” The virtue and political utility of religious studies aside, some academics voiced critique and caution about how such an office might be haunted by political agendas, subjected to idealistic visions of liberal democracy, and premised on a particular concept of […]

An Interview with Shaun Casey, Part Three: Inter-Faith Dialogue and Interdisciplinarity

When Secretary of State John Kerry launched the new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives (OFBCI), he extolled the importance and urgency of religious studies:  “In fact if I went back to college today I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that’s how integrated it is in everything we are working on, and deciding, and thinking about in life today.” The virtue and political utility of religious studies aside, some academics voiced critique and caution about how such an office might be haunted by political agendas, subjected to idealistic visions of liberal democracy, and premised on a particular concept of […]

An Interview with Shaun Casey, Part Four: International Relations and Religion

When Secretary of State John Kerry launched the new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives (OFBCI), he extolled the importance and urgency of religious studies:  “In fact if I went back to college today I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that’s how integrated it is in everything we are working on, and deciding, and thinking about in life today.” The virtue and political utility of religious studies aside, some academics voiced critique and caution about how such an office might be haunted by political agendas, subjected to idealistic visions of liberal democracy, and premised on a particular concept of […]