This past autumn, we hosted an online symposium on Vincent Phillip Muñoz‘s new article, “Two Concepts of Religious Liberty.” In this post, Professor Muñoz responds to the comments of the symposium’s participants:
It’s gratifying when scholars you respect and admire take your work seriously. I am therefore deeply grateful for the symposium hosted by the Center for Law & Religion and to its directors, Mark Movsesian and Marc DeGirolami. I am especially appreciative of the symposium’s participants for their careful readings, probing questions, and thoughtful challenges to my post and the articles on which it was based.
The primary purpose of my recent scholarship has been to recover the American founders’ understanding of the natural right of religious liberty. That investigation is itself a prologue to addressing the more fundamental philosophical question of whether individuals actually do possess by nature a right to religious liberty and, if they do, whether we should adopt the founders’ understanding of it to guide our understanding of political justice.
One can best approach these fundamental questions as they appear in our political and constitutional practice, which right now means addressing the availability of religious exemptions from laws that religious believers find burdensome. That is why my original post focused on Justice Scalia’s Smith opinion. Most of the symposium participants followed my lead and commented on the jurisprudential implications of my natural rights argument. I note this only to clarify that my underlying purpose is not to defend Justice Read more
In March, Cambridge University Press will release Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought: The Life and Times of Ahmad Fardid by Ali Mirsepassi (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:
During the Iranian Revolution of 1978/9, the influence of public intellectuals was widespread. Many espoused a vision of Iran freed from the influences of ‘Westtoxification’, inspired by Heideggerian concepts of anti-Western nativism. By following the intellectual journey of the Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid, Ali Mirsepassi offers in this book an account of the rise of political Islam in modern Iran. Through his controversial persona and numerous public and private appearances before, during and particularly after the Revolution, Fardid popularised an Islamist vision militantly hostile to the modern world that remains a fundamental part of the political philosophy of the Islamic Republic to this day. By also bringing elements of Fardid’s post-revolutionary thought, as well as a critical analysis of Foucault’s writings on ‘the politics of spirituality’, Mirsepassi offers an essential read for all those studying the evolution of political thought and philosophy in modern Iran and beyond.
In February, Oxford University Press will release Religion and Modernity in India by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (Victoria University of Wellington) and Aloka Parasher Sen (University of Hyderabad). The publisher’s description follows:
Modernity, which emphasizes the relegation of religion firmly to an individual’s private life, is a challenging idea for any culture. In India it faces a particularly unusual problem: the persistence of numerous traditional and religious practices means that religion and modernity co-habit here in a complex, plural, transient, and historically evolving relationship.
Religion and Modernity in India explores this complex relationship through a series of case studies on the quotidian experiences of people practicing a variety of religions. It presents the dynamically interacting textures of society engaging with modernity in divergent ways, both historically and in contemporary times.
The essays in this collection consciously bring in the idea of inclusivity by factoring in the small and local contexts. They raise important questions about marginality and sexuality, and discuss the oral and cultural traditions of both mainstream and marginal communities such as tribal communities and women. In doing so, they put forward the perspectives of groups that represent difference but at the same time are linked to a larger whole.