Sex and Secularism (inbunden)
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Short-listed for "The Guardian"'s Best Books of 2017 2017
Princeton University Press
215 x 139 x 19 mm
453 g
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Sex and Secularism (inbunden)

Sex and Secularism

Inbunden Engelska, 2017-10-31
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How secularism has been used to justify the subordination of women Joan Wallach Scott's acclaimed and controversial writings have been foundational for the field of gender history. With Sex and Secularism, Scott challenges one of the central claims of the "clash of civilizations" polemic--the false notion that secularism is a guarantee of gender equality. Drawing on a wealth of scholarship by second-wave feminists and historians of religion, race, and colonialism, Scott shows that the gender equality invoked today as a fundamental and enduring principle was not originally associated with the term "secularism" when it first entered the lexicon in the nineteenth century. In fact, the inequality of the sexes was fundamental to the articulation of the separation of church and state that inaugurated Western modernity. Scott points out that Western nation-states imposed a new order of women's subordination, assigning them to a feminized familial sphere meant to complement the rational masculine realms of politics and economics. It was not until the question of Islam arose in the late twentieth century that gender equality became a primary feature of the discourse of secularism. Challenging the assertion that secularism has always been synonymous with equality between the sexes, Sex and Secularism reveals how this idea has been used to justify claims of white, Western, and Christian racial and religious superiority and has served to distract our attention from a persistent set of difficulties related to gender difference--ones shared by Western and non-Western cultures alike.
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"One of The Guardian's Best Books of 2017" "Joan W. Scott has written an important and timely book."---Sarah B. Farris, H-Diplo Roundtable Review "Scott's theoretical, historical narrative in Sex and Secularism takes its place in a wider conversation in which critical thinkers working in many genres-including film, music, and fiction-ponder gender, race, religion, and sexual difference in a way that refuses essentialism while taking seriously the political effects of these categories on people living in worlds of ongoing inequality and violence. Secularism is not the savior, nor is it the demon in this narrative; it is, like all political ideals, including feminism, a promise that variably incites and excludes."---Pamela E. Klassen, Public Books "Joan Scott argues in this finely crafted, well-argued, wide-ranging, and timely book, secularism has never been a set of abstract truths, but has rather been a historically produced, discursive operation of power based on sexual difference."---Laura L. Frader, H-France Review "In her new book, the eminent feminist historian Joan Wallach Scott['s] . . . aim is to sketch a speculative history of the relationship between sex and secularism: to uncover how ideas about the proper place of religion and the proper place of women have influenced each other and to show how both have been placed in the service of Western imperialism. . . . Scott does not contend that religious societies are more egalitarian than secular ones, but she wants to draw attention to the long history of conflict whitewashed by the assertion that feminism and secularism are naturally aligned."---Namara Smith, Bookforum "In many ways, the true success of Sex and Secularism should be pointing out the obvious. A secular society does not mean an equal society. . . . By expertly countering this assertion with a carefully crafted argument throughout the pages of this work, Scott has successfully revealed the continued hypocrisy of Western democracies."---Meltem Ince-Yenilmez, Journal of Global Analysis "Wide-ranging, sophisticated and up-to-date. . . . Anyone from a good senior school student to an expert can expect to learn a great deal from Scott's narrative and notes."---Chris Forbes, Ancient History Resources for Teachers "Some academic books are so rich and complex that they leave a lasting impression and feed the mind long after the reader has finished them. [Sex and Secularism] is one of those rare books."---Marta Trzebiatowska, Journal of Religion in Europe "In Sex and Secularism, Scott broadens her scope geographically and temporally. Here the subject is women's relationship to secularism in modern western nation-states. This is a big and complex subject for a compact volume, but Scott is especially well-positioned to tackle it. . . . A challenging, timely, and important book. . . . Readers of Sex and Secularism will be forced to rethink their assumptions about the role of women and their bodies in contemporary political debates."---Susan B. Whitney, Literary Review of Canada "Sex and Secularism offers a series of bracing and illuminating reflections on a whole culture of oppression that ought to have been exposed much earlier."---Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian "Sex and Secularism is a challenging, timely, and important book. . . . Her aim, she continues, was to 'open--not to definitively close--a conversation about the place of gender equality in the discourse of secularism.' That she has definitively done, as few other scholars could."---Susan Whitney, Literary Review of Canada "Scott's ardent and principled opposition to the prejudice and hostility expressed towards Islam - more specifically towards Islamic countries, societies and practices - by 'secularists' in Europe (principally France) and the United States is timely and necessary."---Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Times Literary Supplement "Sex

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Övrig information

Joan Wallach Scott is professor emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and adjunct professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her many books include The Fantasy of Feminist History, The Politics of the Veil (Princeton), and Gender and the Politics of History.


Foreword ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction The Discourse of Secularism 1 1 Women and Religion 30 2 Reproductive Futurism 60 3 Political Emancipation 89 4 From the Cold War to the Clash of Civilizations 122 5 Sexual Emancipation 156 Notes 185 Bibliography 213 Index 227