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The Politics of Secularism in International Relations


Author: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Place: Princeton
Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-0-691-13466-6
Category: n\a


Secularism is a powerful political tradition that forms an important part of the cultural context out of which Europeans and Americans engage in international relations.  The Politics of Secularism introduces two forms of secularism and describes their consequences for international relations between Europe, the United States, Turkey and Iran.   Hurd argues that European and American secularist divisions between religion and politics are not fixed but rather socially and historically constructed.  The failure to recognize this explains why International Relations has been unable to properly recognize the power of religion in world politics.  Overcoming this problem contributes to understanding conflict between the United States and Iran, controversy over the enlargement of the European Union to include Turkey, the rise of ‘political Islam,’ and the broader religious resurgence. 
This book offers a powerful challenge to realist, liberal and constructivist accounts of international relations that work on the assumption that religion has been privatized in the West and develops a new approach to the phenomena described as ‘political Islam’ and ‘religious resurgence.’  It examines the relationship between secularism and Enlightenment critiques of religion, Judeo-Christian tradition and representations of Islam and offers detailed case studies of two critical relationships in contemporary international politics: US-Iran relations and EU-Turkey relations.  The Politics of Secularism will be of interest to scholars of international relations, political theory, history, sociology of religion and religious studies as well as practitioners and others interested in the cultural and normative foundations of relations between Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Table of contents

Table of Contents:

Chapter One

Chapter Two
Varieties of Secularism

Chapter Three
Secularism and Islam

Chapter Four
Contested Secularisms in Turkey and Iran

Chapter Five
The European Union and Turkey

Chapter Six
The United States and Iran

Chapter Seven
Political Islam

Chapter Eight
Religious Resurgence

Chapter Nine