This seminar is concerned with how conflicts between religion and secularity (i.e., secular and religious discourses, norms, actors, and institutions) are shaped differently in differing socio-legal contexts in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Specifically, we will examine the way religion and secularity shape disputes and are shaped by disputes over “body politics” and “the margins of life”. We will explore the secular laws and religious disputes governing what is permissible to do to the body and who has the authority to decide (the religion, the mother, the public, the individual etc.) We will focus on current legal and social controversies that have erupted around the practices of male circumcision, organ donation, abortion, reproductive technologies and transgender rights, and place these controversies in a theoretical framework of sociology of the body, biopolitics and (post)-secularism. This course is limited to 25 students. There will be no "nebenhörer" / listening student. Please note that this is a reading intensive course.
Foucault, Michel (2003). Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975–76. New York: Picador. Lecture 11: 17 MARCH 1976, pp. 239-263.
Asad, T. (2010). Formations of the secular Christianity, Islam, modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.
Harcourt, W. (2017). Bodies in resistance: Gender politics in the age of neoliberalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Weiss, M. (2005). The chosen body: The politics of the body in Israeli society. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ. Press.