Cover image for Secularism, identity, and enchantment
Title:
Secularism, identity, and enchantment
Author:
Bilgrami, Akeel, 1950-
ISBN:
9780674052048

9780674419643
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Essays. Selections
Physical Description:
xiii, 397 pages ; 25 cm
Contents:
Secularism -- Secularism: its content and context -- Secularism and the very concept of law -- Liberalism and the academy -- Secular enchantment -- Gandhi, the philosopher -- Gandhi (and Marx) -- The political possibilities of the long romantic period -- Identity -- What is a Muslim? fundamental commitment and cultural identity -- Notes toward the definition of identity -- After the Fatwah: twenty years of controversy -- Reflections on Edward Said -- Occidentalism, the very idea: an essay on the enlightenment, enchantment, and the democratic mentality -- The freedom of beginnings -- Edward said: an intellectual and personal tribute.
Abstract:
Main Description: Bringing clarity to a subject clouded by polemic, Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment is a rigorous exploration of how secularism and identity emerged as concepts in different parts of the modern world. At a time when secularist and religious worldviews appear irreconcilable, Akeel Bilgrami strikes out on a path distinctly his own, criticizing secularist proponents and detractors, liberal universalists and multicultural relativists alike. Those who ground secularism in arguments that aspire to universal reach, Bilgrami argues, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of politics. To those, by contrast, who regard secularism as a mere outgrowth of colonial domination, he offers the possibility of a more conceptually vernacular ground for political secularism. Focusing on the response to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, Bilgrami asks why Islamic identity has so often been a mobilizing force against liberalism, and he answers the question with diagnostic sympathy, providing a philosophical framework within which the Islamic tradition might overcome the resentments prompted by its colonized past and present. Turning to Gandhi's political and religious thought, Bilgrami ponders whether the increasing appeal of religion in many parts of the world reflects a growing disillusionment not with science but with an outlook of detachment around the rise of modern science and capitalism. He elaborates a notion of enchantment along metaphysical, ethical, and political lines with a view to finding in secular modernity a locus of meaning and value, while addressing squarely the anxiety that all such notions hark back nostalgically to a time that has past
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Summary

Summary

Bringing clarity to a subject clouded by polemic, Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment is a rigorous exploration of how secularism and identity emerged as concepts in different parts of the modern world. At a time when secularist and religious worldviews appear irreconcilable, Akeel Bilgrami strikes out on a path distinctly his own, criticizing secularist proponents and detractors, liberal universalists and multicultural relativists alike.

Those who ground secularism in arguments that aspire to universal reach, Bilgrami argues, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of politics. To those, by contrast, who regard secularism as a mere outgrowth of colonial domination, he offers the possibility of a more conceptually vernacular ground for political secularism. Focusing on the response to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses , Bilgrami asks why Islamic identity has so often been a mobilizing force against liberalism, and he answers the question with diagnostic sympathy, providing a philosophical framework within which the Islamic tradition might overcome the resentments prompted by its colonized past and present.

Turning to Gandhi's political and religious thought, Bilgrami ponders whether the increasing appeal of religion in many parts of the world reflects a growing disillusionment not with science but with an outlook of detachment around the rise of modern science and capitalism. He elaborates a notion of enchantment along metaphysical, ethical, and political lines with a view to finding in secular modernity a locus of meaning and value, while addressing squarely the anxiety that all such notions hark back nostalgically to a time that has past.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Secularism
1 Secularism: Its Content and Contextp. 3
2 Secularism, Multiculturalism, and the Very Concept of Lawp. 58
3 Liberalism and the Academyp. 75
Secular Enchantment
4 Gandhi, the Philosopherp. 101
5 Gandhi (and Marx)p. 122
6 The Political Possibilities of the Long Romantic Periodp. 175
Identity
7 What Is a Muslim? Fundamental Commitment and Cultural Identityp. 217
8 Notes toward the Definition of Identityp. 241
9 After the Fatwah: Twenty Years of Controversyp. 260
Reflections on Edward Said
10 Occidentalism, the Very Idea: An Essay on the Enlightenment, Enchantment, and the Mentality of Democracyp. 279
11 The Freedom of Beginningsp. 328
12 Edward Said: An Intellectual and Personal Tributep. 339
Notesp. 347
Sourcesp. 385
Author Indexp. 387
Subject Indexp. 391