Study of Secularisms article

Five Observations on Muslimism

As I mentioned in my intro to Cevik’s lecture on Muslimism, the project itself represents a significant step in our better understanding of the ways in which Islam, or rather, Muslims in concrete historical and sociological contexts, engage various institutions of modern life.

The book is interested in the agentic capacities of religion and religious actors. In this regard, the book is not identical with, but is nonetheless representative of, the multiple/vernacular/contending modernities perspectives: it considers the ways in which religion transforms modernity as much as modernity affects and transforms religion.

This is both my reflection on Cevik’s argument and my caution about the possible comparative approaches to various ‘new religious orthodoxies’: Cevik is rightly careful about the future developments of Muslimism, as they depend on various factors (political, economic, religious). On my reading, this cautious approach also ought to be taken with any comparisons between Muslimists and, say, Pentecostals in Latin America or US Evangelicals. Any comparative work in this area needs to be alert to the possible simplifications and repetitions of the old subtraction narratives about the ultimate victory of the secularizing impetus in modernity: for example, the view that the more individualistic theological stance noted in Muslimism will ultimately result in the rejection of the communal identity.

There is a great difference between hybridity Cevik discusses (as conducive of political and religious creativity and spaces of pluralism) and the hybridity that Olivier Roy, for example, identifies (as a source of radicalism). Hence my question to Cevik; to what extent the forms of hybridity she identifies are dependent on a particular narrative of Turkish national identity?

One final question: Islam makes a strong emphasis on social justice. Could the ideals of social justice as construed in Islamic thought be used as a critique of Muslimism and, if so, how?

Slavica Jakelić
Slavica Jakelić is the Richard P. Baepler Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Valporaisio University. Her scholarly interests and publications center on religion and nationalism, religious and secular humanisms, theories of religion and secularism, theories of modernity, and interreligious conflict and dialogue. Jakelić has worked at or was a fellow of a number of interdisciplinary institutes in Europe and the United States—the Erasmus Institute for the Culture of Democracy in Croatia; the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University; the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna; the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago; the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study; the Erasmus Institute at the University of Notre Dame; and the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School. She is a Senior Fellow of the national project “Religion & Its Publics,” placed at the University of Virginia, where she was a faculty member and co-director at the UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture for several years. She is also a Senior Fellow of the international project "Orthodoxy and Human Rights," placed at Fordham University.

Jakelić 's writings have appeared in journals such as the Journal of the American Academy of ReligionJournal of Religious EthicsPolitical TheologyThe Hedgehog ReviewThe Review of Faith &International AffairsStudies in Religion, Sciences Religieuses, and Commonweal. She co-edited three volumes: The Future of the Study of Religion, Crossing Boundaries: From Syria to Slovakia, and The Hedgehog Review’s issue "After Secularization." Jakelić is the author of Collectivistic Religions: Religion, Choice, and Identity in Late Modernity (Routledge, 2010) and is currently working on two books, Pluralizing Humanism (under contract with Routledge) and Ethical Nationalisms.

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