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In this volume, four leading thinkers of our times confront the paradoxes and dilemmas attending the supposed stand-off between Islam and liberal democratic values. Taking the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammad as a point of departure, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood inquire into the evaluative frameworks at stake in understanding the conflicts between blasphemy and free speech, between religious taboos and freedoms of thought and expression, and between secular and religious world views. Is the language of the law an adequate mechanism for the adjudication of such conflicts? What other modes of discourse are available for the navigation of such differences in multicultural and multi-religious societies? What is the role of critique in such an enterprise? These are among the pressing questions this volume addresses.
Talal Asad is Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book is Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (Columbia, 2012).
Saba Mahmood is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.