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Religious Difference in a Secular Age:
A Minority Report
Saba Mahmood

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"This discussion of Coptic Christians in Egypt offers a timely critique of contemporary notions of secularism. Mahmood demonstrates how perspectives that are largely Protestant result in ill-fitting assumptions about secularism, but shows the importance of honoring the limits of this approach rather than rejecting it altogether. . . . Mahmood's presentation of Coptic Christian struggles highlights why the secular remains a contentious and relevant site for inquiry."--Choice

"Mahmood has written an extremely well-researched book with a stimulating theoretical framework."--Vivian Ibrahim, Middle East Journal

"A complex and ambitious intellectual tour de force. . . . Mahmood's central thesis is strong and backed by ethnography. She has successfully pointed to the failure of societies, both in the West and the East, to accommodate minorities."--Akbar Ahmed, American Anthropologist

"Mahmood’s Religious Difference in a Secular Age masterfully combines the study of two topics in identity politics with advanced literatures--secularism and minority rights--to create an original and engaging volume about the promises and limits of political secularism."--Kristin Fabbe, Journal of Church and State

"The broad interdisciplinary impact of Mahmood’s scholarship . . . has been the subject of much scholarly debate and has had an impressive reach across disciplinary and geographic divides. . . . . What Mahmood offers in Religious Difference are concepts that must continue to be central concerns to a new generation of feminist and queer scholars across geographic bounds."--Durba Mitra, CM Roundtable


"Saba Mahmood is a premier scholar of the constitutive powers of secular governance. This extraordinary work is at once a fascinating ethnography of two religious minorities in Egypt and a compelling formulation of how secularism generates strife it claims only to modulate."--Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

"Mahmood delivers an expectedly insightful scholarly performance about the ways secularism, purported to be a solution to interreligious conflict, has in fact not only contributed to that conflict but also exacerbated it by producing new forms of religious polarization. This book is both an indispensable and intellectually delightful read."--Wael B. Hallaq, author of The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity's Moral Predicament

"In this stunning book, Mahmood calls into question a good deal of the received wisdom about secularism and the divisions between East and West. Religious Difference in a Secular Age is original, pathbreaking, and important."--Joan Wallach Scott, author of The Politics of the Veil

"Written by one of the most prominent anthropologists of her generation, Religious Difference in a Secular Age is a significant contribution to political theory and the study of religion in the contemporary world."--Webb Keane, author of Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter

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File created: 9/19/2017

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