Secularism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to confusing and contradictory public discussions of secularism across the globe.

“Secularism” must be the most confused and convoluted term in the entire global political lexicon. From New York to Paris, to Istanbul, to Addis Ababa, to New Delhi, to Montevideo, there are countless examples of politicians, religious leaders and journalists, invoking the S-word in heated debates about public education, gender, sex, national symbols, and artistic freedom. In this lively and lucid book, Jacques Berlinerblau addresses why secularism is defined in so many ways and why it so ignites people’s passions. In so doing, he explores the following important questions: What does secularism mean? Why should we care about this idea? What are the different types of secularism and what are their histories? What are the basic principles of political secularisms? Why are secularism and Atheism often confused? What is the relationship between secularism and LGBTQ rights? What opposition are secularisms up against? What does the future hold for a concept millennia in the making, but only really operationalized in the twentieth century?

With a glossary of key terms, case studies, informative tables, and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical, religious, anti-religious, post-modern and post-colonial arguments around secularism. This book is an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a readable introduction to the often-conflicting interpretations of one of our era’s most complex and controversial ideas.

chapter 1|12 pages

The S-word

Define your terms!

part I|36 pages

The ten principles of political secularism

chapter 2|12 pages

Who's on top?

The two powers

chapter 3|12 pages

“Thought is free”

Martin Luther and early Modernity

chapter 4|10 pages

“Burning Zeal”

John Locke and the Enlightenment

part II|78 pages

Frameworks of political secularism in global perspective

chapter 5|13 pages

American secularism

The (wobbly) Separationist framework

chapter 6|12 pages

French secularism

The laïcité framework

chapter 7|12 pages

Indian secularism

The accommodationist framework

chapter 8|11 pages


Secularism and Atheism

chapter 9|13 pages

Atheist secularism

The Soviet framework

chapter 10|15 pages

Embrace complexity!

Turkey, Ethiopia, China

part III|62 pages

Anti-secularism, lifestyle secularisms, and a case study

chapter 11|11 pages

Anti-Secularisms Of The Right

Conservative religious anti-secularism

chapter 12|13 pages

Anti-secularisms of the left

chapter 13|13 pages

Lifestyle secularisms

chapter 14|12 pages

LGBTQ rights in Uruguay and Secularstan

chapter 15|11 pages

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