“Regulating Intimacy: Religion, Sex, and Secular Cunning”
Professor Mayanthi Fernando (UC, Santa Cruz)
12:30pm – 2:00pm, Room 2027, Osgoode Hall Law School
RSVP Required: www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/rsvp, Event Code: LRST5
How does the public/private distinction so central to secular-liberal democracy inflect the secular state’s regulation of sex and religion? Focussing on contemporary France, this talk analyzes how political and legal practices aimed at securing secularity by rendering both sex and religion private paradoxically compel Muslim women to reveal in public the innermost details of their sexual and religious lives. That dual incitement to hide and to exhibit, and the grim consequences of exhibiting that which must be hidden, constitute “the cunning of secular power.”
Mayanthi Fernando is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California (Santa Cruz). Her research examines the political, religious, and legal practices that are generated in the contemporary encounter of Islam and French secularism. Professor Fernando is currently working on a book manuscript entitled On the Muslim Question: Islam, Secularism, and the Future of France, to be published with Duke University Press.