Joan Wallach Scott, "The Politics of Secularism in France"

Friday, November 6th, 2015
  • University of Arizona

The RelSec Initiative proudly welcomed Professor Joan Wallach Scott, Professor Emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study and Adjunct Professor of History at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Professor Scott delivered a public lecture in the University of Arizona's ENR2 Building entitled "The Politics of Secularism in France."

Professor Scott's lecture provides a historical perspective on the contemporary insistence that French laïcité requires the suppression of all forms of visible religious identification, especially the headscarves and face-coverings worn by women.  It looks at the history of the concept of laïcité, arguing that current policies depend on a new interpretation of it.  It further asks why women are the particular targets for objection not only to the hijab and niqab, but also to Islam more broadly.

Joan Wallach Scott is Professor Emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study and Adjunct Professor of History at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice and she has been recognized for her work in the fields of French history, women’s and gender history, and feminist theory. Her many works include Gender and the Politics of History (1988), The Politics of the Veil (2007), and The Fantasy of Feminist History (2011).

RelSec is comprised of five partner sites situated in universities around the world. The participating centers conduct parallel research projects whose exact shape reflects the distinct missions of the centers and research profiles of the teams. All will include some combination of public presentations and events, faculty workshops, and/or curricular initiatives, such as the development of team-taught courses on secularism, religion, and political belonging.
Click on the icons below to link to each partner’s individual websites.