This volume interrogates settled ways of thinking about the seemingly interminable conflict between religious and secular values in our world today. What are the assumptions and resources internal to secular conceptions of critique that help or hinder our understanding of one of the most pressing conflicts of our times?
Taking as their point of departure the question of whether critique belongs exclusively to forms of liberal democracy that define themselves in opposition to religion, these authors consider the case of the "Danish cartoon controversy" of 2005. They offer accounts of reading, understanding, and critique for offering a way to rethink conventional oppositions between free speech and religious belief, judgment and violence, reason and prejudice, rationality and embodied life. The book, first published in 2009, has been updated for the present edition with a new Preface by the authors.
Talal Asad was born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Britain. He now teaches anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature and Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of The Psychic Life of Power (1997), Antigone's Claim (2000), Giving an Account of Oneself (2005), Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012), and Senses of the Subject (2015). She works in the fields of feminist and queer theory, European philosophy, social theory, and ethics. Saba Mahmood is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Introduction Wendy Brown Free Speech, Blasphemy, and Secular Criticism Talal Asad Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide? Saba Mahmood The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood Judith Butler Reply to Judith Butler Talal Asad Reply to Judith Butler Saba Mahmood