Secularism as Misdirection: Critical Thought from the Global South
Speaker: Nivedita Menon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is the author of several books including Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law (2004); and Seeing like a Feminist (2012). This talk is based on her new book, Secularism as Misdirection: Critical Thought from the Global South (Permanent Black; 2023). Nivedita Menon is a regular commentator on contemporary issues on the collective blog kafila.online (of which she is one of the founders), and active in democratic politics in India
Chair: Tanika Sarkar, historian of modern India and Visiting Professor of History, Ashoka University
In the performance of a magic trick, misdirection draws attention away from where the trick is happening to another place which appears more fascinating. The talk addresses the grid of meanings secularism produces, which effects such a misdirection. Certain features become hyper visible (religion, women) while others are obscured (caste, capitalism, the non-individuated, non-rational self). The perspective is from the global South and India, and reconceptualises secularism more generally.