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Is Critique Secular?Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech$
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Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251681

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251681.001.0001

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The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood

The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood

(p.95) The Sensibility of Critique: Response to Asad and Mahmood
Is Critique Secular?

Judith Butler

Fordham University Press

In this chapter, the author responds to the essays by Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood regarding the critique of secularism, as well as issues of free speech, blasphemy, and religious extremism raised by the Danish cartoon controversy—the protests and debates sparked by the 2005 Danish newspaper publication of a series of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. The author weaves together and extends their critiques of the inherent secularism attributed to critique in the modern Western tradition. She also affirms their challenges to Western representations of blasphemy, injury, and freedom by citing the existence of a normative framework constraining and regulating the semantic fields in which such terms operate. In addition, the author makes a distinction between critique and criticism before offering her own critique of sexual freedom in “secular” immigration politics in the Netherlands.

Keywords:   critique, secularism, free speech, blasphemy, religious extremism, Danish cartoon controversy, injury, criticism, sexual freedom, immigration politics

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