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Troubling Intimacy: Islam, Sex, and Secular Cunning

Mayanthi Fernando
Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Date and Time: 
Monday, February 26, 2018 - 17:30

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


My talk examines how and why sex and sexuality have become the terrain on which France’s Muslim question is increasingly posed. Specifically, it analyzes how the political and legal practices aimed at securing secularity – where sex and religion are supposed to be private – paradoxically compel Muslim women to reveal publicly the details of their sexual and religious lives. My broader aim is to think about both Islam and secularity beyond the conventional focus on law and politics. Attending to the ethical, sexual, and affective dispositions integral to both traditions, I track how emergent forms of Muslim French intimacy trouble the sexual protocols of secularity.