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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AAA 2011 Call for Papers: Tidemarks of Secularism: Religion and the Other

AAA 2011 Call for Papers

Mary-Lee Mulholland (Mount Royal University)

Panel Title: Tidemarks of Secularism: Religion and the Other

From banning niqabs and kirpans in public places to cuts in funding to
religiously affiliated community organizations, western nations are
increasing their commitment to the project of secularization in the name of
liberal emancipation and its freedoms. This, despite the fact, that many
of these same governments are becoming increasingly influenced by the
Christian right. The desire to eradicate traces of religiosity in public
spaces, policies and funding is formulated as a legacy of the idealized
(but rarely practiced) separation of church and state. This secularization
is used by both the left and the right to limit and exclude what is deemed
illegitimate political and social activities from the public sphere.
Critiques of secularization as a western bias leading to policies of
exclusion (Asad 2003, Mahmood 2005) are not new, however, the increased
political pressure to secularize requires further examination. This is
seen to be particularly true in discourses such as "reasonable
accommodation" and the banning of the niqab and burka in various public
spaces in Europe and North America. Moreover, Christian groups dedicated
to social justices issues are also witnessing cuts to their funding and
limits to their praxis. What seem to be constant is these struggle is the
manner in with inappropriate religiosity intersects with citizenship,
race, gender and ethnicity. This panel will examine how the legacies of
secularization are working to exclude certain bodies marked as different.

Questions that papers address may include:

1. How are policies of secularization directed at newcomers and

2. How are diversity models, such as multiculturalism, becoming the
scapegoats for the failure of western nations to integrate religious

3. How are women's bodies and beliefs becoming the battleground in
which secularism is being fought over?

If you are interested in presenting a paper as part of this panel, please
submit a 250-word abstract by April 1, 2011 to

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