Mayanthi L Fernando
|Division||Social Sciences Division|
|Affiliations||Humanities Division, |
Feminist Studies Department,
History of Consciousness Department
|Office||309 Social Science 1|
|Office Hours||By appointment|
|Campus Mail Stop||Social Sciences 1 Faculty Services|
|1156 High Street|
Santa Cruz, CA
My first book, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (Duke University Press, 2014), alternates between an analysis of Muslim French politics, ethics, and social life and the contradictions of French secularity (laïcité) that this new Muslim subjectivity reflects and refracts. It explores how Muslim French draw on both Islamic and secular-republican traditions as they create new modes of ethical and political engagement, reconfiguring those traditions to imagine a future for France. It also examines how the institutions, political and legal practices, and dominant discourses that comprise French secularity regulate and govern--and profoundly disrupt--Muslim life. In so doing, it traces a series of long-standing tensions immanent to laïcité, tensions not so much generated as precipitated by the presence of Muslim French. It argues, ultimately, that “the Muslim question” is actually a question about secularism.
My next project attends to the nexus of sex and religion in the articulation of modern secularity, analyzing how the secular state’s project of regulating and transforming religious life is interwoven with its project of sexual normalization, i.e. the production of secular, sexually “normal” citizens. I am interested, in other words, in how proper religion and proper sexuality are mutually constituted (often in opposition to each other) by secular rule.
Biography, Education and Training
B.A., Harvard University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago
Honors, Awards and Grants
2013 UCHRI Humanities Studio on Regulating Sex/Religion
2011 Hellman Fellows Program research grant
2010-2011 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
2010-2011 U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program
2010-2011 UC President's Faculty Fellowship
2010 UC Center for New Racial Studies research grant
- The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French the Contradictions of Secularism (Duke University Press, 2014)
- “Save the Muslim Woman, Save the Republic: Ni Putes Ni Soumises and the Ruse of Neo-liberal Sovereignty.” Modern & Contemporary France 21: 2 (2013), pp. 147-165
- “Belief and/in the Law.” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 24:1 (2012), pp. 71-80.
- “Reconfiguring Freedom: Muslim Piety and the Limits of Secular Law and Public Discourse in France.” American Ethnologist 37:1 (2010), pp. 19-35.
- “Exceptional Citizens: Secular Muslim Women and the Politics of Difference in France.” Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 17:3 (2009), pp. 379-392.
- “Droit, laïcité et diversité culturelle. De quelques contradictions françaises” (with C. Eberhardt and N. Gafsia). Revue Interdisciplinaire d’Études Juridiques 54 (2005), pp. 129-169.
- “The Republic’s ‘Second Religion’: Recognizing Islam in France.” Middle East Report 235 (2005), pp. 12-17.
Teaching Specialties: anthropology of Islam, politics and secularism, religion and gender/sexuality, modernity and difference, postcolonial Britain and France, anthropology of freedom, anthropology of Western Europe, multiculturalism
Courses TaughtANTH 130T Religion and Politics in the Muslim World
ANTH 130O Postcolonial Britain and France
ANTH 197G Religion, Gender, Sexuality
ANTH 255 Anthropology of Secularism
ANTH 260 Anthropology of Freedom
ANTH 259 Regulating Religion/Sex
ANTH 200B Graduate Core Course II