Category Archives: Media

Video: “The Origins of Neoliberalism”

The Origins of Neoliberalism – A Panel Conversation
Thursday, October 13, 2016
More information about this event is available here.


Dotan Leshem is a historian of systems of economic and political thought and a senior lecturer in the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa. Leshem’s book The Origins of Neoliberalism: Modeling The Economy from Jesus to Foucault was published by Columbia University Press in June 2016.

Daniel Colucciello Barber is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Pace University. He is the author of Deleuze and the Naming of God and On Diaspora, and his current research addresses the idea of conversion.

Stathis Gourgouris is Professor of Classics, English, and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Dream Nation and Does Literature Think?, and editor of Freud and Fundamentalism.

Gil Anidjar (moderator) is Professor in the Departments of Religion; the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS); and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS).  He is the author of, among other works, The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy; Semites: Race, Religion, Literature; and Blood: a Critique of Christianity.

Video: “Faith, Secularism, and Humanitarian Engagement”

Faith, Secularism, and Humanitarian Engagement
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More information on this event is available here.


Alastair Ager is Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

George Rupp is Columbia University President Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, International Affairs, and Public Health.

Introduced by Katherine Pratt Ewing, Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; and Wayne Proudfoot, Professor of Religion at Columbia University.

Pakistan at the Crossroads: Domestic Dynamics and External Pressures


Edited by Christophe Jaffrelot
Published April 2016

In Pakistan at the Crossroads, top international scholars assess Pakistan’s politics and economics and the challenges faced by its civil and military leaders domestically and diplomatically. Contributors examine the state’s handling of internal threats, tensions between civilians and the military, strategies of political parties, police and law enforcement reform, trends in judicial activism, the rise of border conflicts, economic challenges, financial entanglements with foreign powers, and diplomatic relations with India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the United States.

In addition to ethnic strife in Baluchistan and Karachi, terrorist violence in Pakistan in response to the American-led military intervention in Afghanistan and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by means of drones, as well as to Pakistani army operations in the Pashtun area, has reached an unprecedented level. There is a growing consensus among state leaders that the nation’s main security threats may come not from India but from its spiraling internal conflicts, though this realization may not sufficiently dissuade the Pakistani army from targeting the country’s largest neighbor. This volume is therefore critical to grasping the sophisticated interplay of internal and external forces complicating the country’s recent trajectory.

Christophe Jaffrelot is research director at the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI) and Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). He teaches South Asian politics at Sciences Po (Paris) and King’s College (London). His books on Pakistan include Pakistan: Nationalism Without a Nation? (2002), A History of Pakistan and Its Origins (2004), and The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience (2015).

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Beyond the Secular West


Edited by Akeel Bilgrami
Published March 2016

What is the character of secularism in countries that were not pervaded by Christianity, such as China, India, and the nations of the Middle East? To what extent is the secular an imposition of colonial rule? How does secularism comport with local religious cultures in Africa, and how does it work with local forms of power and governance in Latin America? Has modern secularism evolved organically, or is it even necessary, and has it always meant progress?

A vital extension of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, in which he exhaustively chronicled the emergence of secularism in Latin Christendom, this anthology applies Taylor’s findings to secularism’s global migration. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Rajeev Bhargava, Akeel Bilgrami, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Sudipta Kaviraj, Claudio Lomnitz, Alfred Stepan, Charles Taylor, and Peter van der Veer each explore the transformation of Western secularism beyond Europe, and the collection closes with Taylor’s response to each essay. What began as a modern reaction to—as well as a stubborn extension of—Latin Christendom has become a complex export shaped by the world’s religious and political systems. Brilliantly alternating between intellectual and methodological approaches, this volume fosters a greater engagement with the phenomenon across disciplines.

Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser Chair of Philosophy and the Director of the South Asian Institute at Columbia University. The contributors to the volume include Irfan Habib, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Utsa Patnaik, Charles Taylor, Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad, and Partha Chatterjee, among others.

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Race and Secularism in America

race and secularism in america

Edited by Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd
Published March 2016

This anthology draws bold comparisons between secularist strategies to contain, privatize, and discipline religion and the treatment of racialized subjects by the American state. Specializing in history, literature, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and political theory, contributors expose secularism’s prohibitive practices in all facets of American society and suggest opportunities for change.

“A tremendous volume. Its originality and interdisciplinary breadth will attract a range of scholars in the humanities and social sciences. It will shift conversations within and facilitate new discussions across the fields of race, religion, literature, and theology.”

– James Manigault-Bryant, Williams College

“Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd have pulled together a deeply original set of essays on race and secularism in the United States that effectively challenges intellectualist, European-derived accounts of secularist discourse. Focusing on the fundamental whiteness of American secularism, the collection highlights the ways in which the specificities of both race and religion have been managed―and obscured―through the ideals and practices of secular statecraft. It is an impressive and necessary critique of the widespread neglect of race and racialization in contemporary secular studies.”

– Leigh Eric Schmidt, Washington University in St. Louis

“This well-conceived and well-crafted collection provides another account of secularism by interrogating those processes by which not only are religion and religious discourse regulated or excluded but also race and religion are entwined, managed, or resisted. Methodologically and theoretically, these essays substantially deepen and complicate our understanding of secularism, religion, and race.”

– M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College

Jonathon S. Kahn is associate professor of religion at Vassar College. He is the author of Divine Discontent: The Religious Imagination of W. E. B. Du Bois.

Vincent W. Lloyd is assistant professor of religion at Syracuse University. His books include The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology and the edited volume Race and Political Theology.

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Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy


Edited by Jean L. Cohen and Cécile Laborde
Published December 2015

Polarization between political religionists and militant secularists on both sides of the Atlantic is on the rise. Critically engaging with traditional secularism and religious accommodationism, this collection introduces a constitutional secularism that robustly meets contemporary challenges. It identifies which connections between religion and the state are compatible with the liberal, republican, and democratic principles of constitutional democracy and assesses the success of their implementation in the birthplace of political secularism: the United States and Western Europe.

Approaching this issue from philosophical, legal, historical, political, and sociological perspectives, the contributors wage a thorough defense of their project’s theoretical and institutional legitimacy. Their work brings fresh insight to debates over the balance of human rights and religious freedom, the proper definition of a nonestablishment norm, and the relationship between sovereignty and legal pluralism. They discuss the genealogy of and tensions involving international legal rights to religious freedom, religious symbols in public spaces, religious arguments in public debates, the jurisdiction of religious authorities in personal law, and the dilemmas of religious accommodation in national constitutions and public policy when it violates international human rights agreements or liberal-democratic principles. If we profoundly rethink the concepts of religion and secularism, these thinkers argue, a principled adjudication of competing claims becomes possible.

Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University. She is the coauthor of Civil Society and Political Theory and the author of Class and Civil Society: The Limits of Marxian Critical Theory; Regulating Intimacy: A New Legal Paradigm; and Globalization and Sovereignty: Rethinking Legitimacy and Legality.

Cécile Laborde is a professor of political theory at University College London and a fellow of the British Academy. She is the author of Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France and Critical Republicanism: The Hijab Controversy and Political Philosophy.

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Mormonism and American Politics


Edited by Randall Balmer and Jana Riess
Published December 2015

When Joseph Smith ran for president as a radical protest candidate in 1844, Mormons were a deeply distrusted group in American society, and their efforts to enter public life were met with derision. When Mitt Romney ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, the public had come to regard Mormons as consummate Americans: patriotic, family-oriented, and conservative. How did this shift occur?

In this collection, prominent scholars of Mormonism, including Claudia L. Bushman, Richard Lyman Bushman, Jan Shipps, and Philip L. Barlow, follow the religion’s quest for legitimacy in the United States and its intersection with American politics. From Brigham Young’s skirmishes with the federal government over polygamy to the Mormon involvement in California’s Proposition 8, contributors combine sociology, political science, race and gender studies, and popular culture to track Mormonism’s rapid integration into American life. The book takes a broad view of the religion’s history, considering its treatment of women and African Americans and its portrayal in popular culture and the media. With essays from both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars, this anthology tells a big-picture story of a small sect that became a major player in American politics.

Randall Balmer is chair of the religion department and John Phillips Professor in Religion at Dartmouth College. An award-winning historian, his books include God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, which was made into an award-winning documentary for PBS.

Jana Riess is the author or coauthor of many books, including Flunking Sainthood, American Pilgrimage, andMormonism for Dummies. She has taught at Barnard College and Miami University in Ohio and is a senior columnist for Religion News Service.