[PAST EVENT] Secular Misfits: What Humanistic Jews and Ex-Muslims Can Teach Us About Religion

February 26, 2020
5pm - 6:30pm
Tucker Hall, Room 127
350 James Blair Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
Professor Blankholm
Professor Blankholm

A lecture by Joseph Blankholm (University of California-Santa Barbara, Sociology of Religion): Being secular does not always mean being nonreligious. Deconverting from Judaism, for instance, does not simply unmark a person as Jewish, which remains a cultural or ethnic identity even after rejecting religion. Like secular Jews, ex-Muslims face unique challenges, and being betwixt and between is awkward. Both groups literally mis-fit inherited understandings of religion and secularism. These secular misfits have a lot to teach us about Euro-American culture and why it has failed to make room for them. They are creating new and important ways of being secular and religious that are not properly either. Bursting the seams of these categories, they help us see clearly their construction. This lecture relies on years of ethnographic research among secular people to explain why some groups are left with so much religious remainder even after they reject religion and to show what their mis-fit can teach us about religion today.