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Old Blog

Mon, March 10: Women & Religion talk at Barnard, NY


Interesting talk I plan to attend. Hope you can join us.

By looking at historical material from 19th-century France, Joan Scott shows that secularization was not synonymous with women's emancipation, but 
with the articulation of new justifications for their exclusion from male public worlds. This 
is an important point to make these days because the word secularism is bandied about loosely in public debate, with
 little attention to its variable
 and complex history. Especially 
in discussions of Islam and its treatment of women, the secular, the modern, and sexual liberation are touted as the "primordial values" of progressive, democratic states while the religious, the traditional, and the subordination of women designate arenas of authoritarian backwardness. Scott's work on the secular side seeks to challenge that simple opposition, arguing—as historians are wont to do—that things are more complicated than these Manichean characterizations suggest. Joan Scott is Harold F. Linder Professor at the School of Social Science in the Institute for Advanced Study.