Is Equality Secular?

Prof. Wendy Brown, Political Science

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Within the widely held conviction that secularism stands for gender equality and that theocracy stands for gender subordination, there are a number of unexamined assumptions. Two of the most consequential may be the conviction that secularism entails a certain methodological individualism and that sacral values are the exclusive preserve of recognized religion. The (sacred) place of the family in U.S political culture constitutes a challenge to both of these assumptions. This talk traces, at a theoretical level, the complex circuitry among the terms of secularism that make religion a family matter, the sacralization of the family in liberal and neoliberal discourse, and naturalized gender inequality.

11/17/10 CRG Forum: Postcolonial and Liberal Discourses of the Family in Secular Polities
"Is Equality Secular," Prof. Wendy Brown, Political Science

Within the widely held conviction that secularism stands for gender equality and that theocracy stands for gender subordination, there are a number of unexamined assumptions. Two of the most consequential may be the conviction that secularism entails a certain methodological individualism and that sacral values are the exclusive preserve of recognized religion. The (sacred) place of the family in U.S political culture constitutes a challenge to both of these assumptions. This talk traces, at a theoretical level, the complex circuitry among the terms of secularism that make religion a family matter, the sacralization of the family in liberal and neoliberal discourse, and naturalized gender inequality.