Do liberal societies need beliefs?

Do liberal societies need beliefs?

Ryan Schram

Mills 169 (A26)

24 May 2017

Available at


Mahmood, Saba. 2013. “Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?” In Is Critique Secular?: Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech, edited by Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Judith Butler, 64–100. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keane, Webb. 2009. “Freedom and Blasphemy: On Indonesian Press Bans and Danish Cartoons.” Public Culture 21 (1): 47–76. doi:10.1215/08992363–2008–021.

Other readings

Bellah, Robert N. 1967. “Civil Religion in America.” Daedalus 96 (1): 1–21.

Hirschkind, Charles. 1997. “What Is Political Islam?” Middle East Report.

Weill, Nicolas. 2006. “What’s in a Scarf?: The Debate on Laïcité in France.” French Politics, Culture & Society 24 (1): 59–73.

Other media

Ramzy, Austin. 2015. “Singapore Arrests Teenager Over Video Critical of Lee Kuan Yew.” The New York Times, March 30.

Theodorou, Angelina. 2015. “Which Countries Still Outlaw Apostasy and Blasphemy?” Pew Research Center. Accessed May 13.

A critique of liberalism

Civil religion


Why might blasphemy be threatening to society?

Laws against blasphemy

(see Fox 2015: 193).

Semiotic ideology


The Danish cartoon controversy and Terry Jones


Austin, John L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words: The William James Lectures. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Derby, Kevin. 2010. “World Weighs In to Condemn Terry Jones’ Planned Quran-Burning.” Sunshine State News, September 8.

Fox, Jonathan. 2015. Political Secularism, Religion, and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

University Post newsroom. 2015. “Ten Years of the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis: 2005-2015.” University Post, January 8.

A guide to the unit