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Joan W. Scott to speak on the politics of secularism

Wednesday, April 16, 2014,

  • Location: Vanderbilt University Law School, Flynn Auditorium • 131 21st Avenue South • Nashville, TN 37203
  • Room: Flynn Auditorium

Free and Open to the Public

"The Politics of Secularism"

Joan W. Scott, Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ will give the annual William J. Byrn lecture sponsored by the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. Her talk will examine the history of secularism in the West from the 19th century on as a way of criticizing the simple opposition between the secular West and the Islamic East that is so prevalent in political discourse these days.

Joan Scott has taught at the University of Illinois, Chicago; Northwestern University; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Brown University, where she was founding director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Since 1985, she has been a professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Joan Scott's work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice, including the nature of historical evidence and historical experience. In her latest work she has been concerned with the ways in which difference poses problems for democratic practice. She has taken up this question in her recent books: Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996); Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (2005); and The Politics of the Veil (2007).