Jadaliyya is partnering with a number of scholars to form a Humanities Studio that will study, produce, and disseminate critical scholarship on sex, religion, secularism, and citizenship. The studio, part of the University of California Humanities Research Institute’s initiative on Religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs, examines how sexuality and religion come together in the management of diasporic minorities in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Rather than take for granted the conventional secular narrative of the privatization of sexual and religious life, we analyze how secular power, and the concomitant structures of secular citizenship, is actually underpinned by the twinned regulation of religion and sexuality. Our project is grounded in the following questions: How are diasporic religious identities produced through the regulation of gender and sexuality by secular-modern state formations? And conversely, how is the normative sexuality of the modern citizen tied to the regulation of religion and the production of religious difference by these very same secular-modern states? How, in other words, do the regulation of religion and sexuality, and the management of religious and sexual difference, intertwine in the construction of secular-modern citizenship?
The studio brings together faculty and graduate students from the University of California and Jadaliyya with the aim of generating innovative forms of public knowledge and intellectual exchange. The studio also includes key scholars outside the University of California system working on the nexus of sex, religion, and secularity. Over the next two years, we plan to hold a series of workshops and symposia. We will also be producing a series of Jadaliyya roundtables featuring members of our research studio and focusing on the themes of secularism and gender, secularism and violence, and sex and law in the archive. We will be regularly posting on our work and discussions via Jadaliya and we hope to develop innovative online forums of intellectual exchange.
Saba Mahmood (co-director)
Mayanthi Fernando (co-director)