Graduate level course, fall semester 2016/17 and 2017/18 (co-taught together with Prof. Gökce Yurdakul)

Body Politics and the Margins of Life: The Secular/Religious Tensions


This seminar is concerned with how conflicts between religion and secularity (i.e., secular and religious discourses, norms, actors, and institutions) are shaped differently in differing socio-legal contexts in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Specifically, we will examine the way religion and secularity shape disputes and are shaped by disputes over “body politics” and “the margins of life”.  
We will explore the secular laws and religious disputes governing what is permissible to do to the body and who has the authority to decide (the religion, the mother, the public, the individual etc.)  We will focus on current legal and social controversies that have erupted around the practices of male circumcision, organ donation, abortion, reproductive technologies and trans rights, and place these controversies in a theoretical framework of sociology of the body, biopolitics and (post)-secularism.