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1 John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689)  Locke's primary goal is to "distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion"

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Presentation on theme: "1 John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689)  Locke's primary goal is to "distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion""— Presentation transcript:

1 1 John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689)  Locke's primary goal is to "distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion" government is instituted to promote external interests, relating to life, liberty, and the general welfare, while the “church” exists to promote internal interests, i.e., salvation government is instituted to promote external interests, relating to life, liberty, and the general welfare, while the “church” exists to promote internal interests, i.e., salvation the two serve separate functions, and so, must be considered to be separate institutions the two serve separate functions, and so, must be considered to be separate institutions

2 2 In defense of religious diversity  After a devastating period of religious wars, Locke proposes “religious toleration” as the answer  In 1689, it was Catholicism that was seen as a threat to the English way of life  Locke argues that civil unrest results from confrontations caused by govt’s attempt to prevent different religions from being practiced, rather than tolerating their proliferation

3 3 Locke on the politicization of religion  “…I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church. For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places, names, or the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith—for e/o is orthodox to himself—these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ.”  “…If like the Captain of our salvation, they sincerely desired the good of souls, they would tread in the steps and follow the perfect example of that Prince of Peace, who sent out His soldiers…not armed with the sword, or other instruments of force, but prepared with the Gospel of peace and with the exemplary holiness of their conversation. This was His method.”  politicization of religion: the instrumentalization, or use, of religion and religious appeals in the political sphere, in struggles over political power Locke says the distinctive feature of “methods” used in the political sphere is their ultimate reliance on force or coercion, which make them inappropriate in the realm of religion, which is about internal interests and one’s personal relationship to God Locke says the distinctive feature of “methods” used in the political sphere is their ultimate reliance on force or coercion, which make them inappropriate in the realm of religion, which is about internal interests and one’s personal relationship to God

4 4 Oppression, not religion, causes unrest  “…I know that seditions are very frequently raised upon pretence of religion, but it is as true that for religion subjects are frequently ill treated, and live miserably. Believe me, the stirs that are made proceed not from any peculiar temper of this or that church or religious society, but from the common disposition of all mankind, who when they groan under any heavy burthen endeavour naturally to shake off the yoke that galls their necks…”

5 5 "Obedience versus Autonomy: Women and Fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan" Shahla Haeri, Ch. 45, pp

6 6 Secularism, Fundamentalism, Islamism  secularism: doctrine that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs secularization: transformation of society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non- religious values and secular institutions secularization: transformation of society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non- religious values and secular institutions  fundamentalism: belief in a strict adherence to a set of basic principles (often religious in nature) It typically emerges in response to modernity/modernization and the various social processes associated with it, e.g., secularization, urbanization, marketization – and globalization It typically emerges in response to modernity/modernization and the various social processes associated with it, e.g., secularization, urbanization, marketization – and globalization  Islamism: a set of beliefs that hold that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system also referred to as "political Islam" also referred to as "political Islam"

7 7 Women in context of the dialectical relationship b/w secular reformers of 50s-60s & Islamic fundamentalism of 70s-80s in Iran/Pakistan  In 50s & 60s Muslim reformers adopted elements of Western law and applied them within Islamic framework Fundamentalists contested legitimacy of these reforms, claiming them to be inspired (or imposed) by the West rather than guided by Islamic law Fundamentalists contested legitimacy of these reforms, claiming them to be inspired (or imposed) by the West rather than guided by Islamic law  In 80s & 90s, Islamic societies were affected by movements advocating return to Islamic ideals, particularly in family relations, marriage, and divorce  Tension between secularist gov’t and fundamentalists has mirrored the alienation from and disillusionment w/ ideals and promises of "modernity" in many Muslim societies

8 8 Debates b/w fundamentalists and Iranian / Pakistani urban middle class women center on the concepts of obedience & autonomy  Both obedience & autonomy relate to the reciprocal rights of spouses deriving from the contractual form marriage in Islam  Whereas secularists try to break through and reinterpret the predetermined boundaries of the marriage contract, fundamentalists want to return to the literal meaning of the contract

9 9 Pakistan vs Iran  Pakistan: predominantly Sunni, within the South Asian cultural sphere, fundamentalists are only part of the ruling coalition and must compete for power with other parties and interest groups  Iran: predominantly a Shi'ite society, shares the cultural area of the Middle East, fundamentalists control the gov’t

10 10 Fundamentalism Consolidated: the Case of Iran  1936 Unveiling Act and 1967 Family Protection Law granted women some autonomy and rights in the family Wearing veil in public became optional in 1941 Wearing veil in public became optional in 1941

11 s brought upheaval, restlessness, sense of moral chaos  The 1970s economic boom (as price of oil increased) brought more destruction than development, widening the gap between haves and have-nots sense of moral chaos, esp in urban areas sense of moral chaos, esp in urban areas  "An overwhelming majority of Iranians took a collective plunge into an idealized past, hoping to retrieve what they could agree on, namely, an Islamic identity" (p. 375)

12 12 Women in Iran’s Islamic Revolution  Women donned the veil in anti-Shah protests in , many for non-religious reasons for symbolic reasons, as protest against its forced removal in 30s for symbolic reasons, as protest against its forced removal in 30s for pragmatic reasons, fearing recognition by the Shah's secret police for pragmatic reasons, fearing recognition by the Shah's secret police  Unintended consequence of women's success as revolutionaries: heightened awareness and increased expectations of small but vocal segments of the urban female population  tension between fundamentalist regime & women who brought it to power

13 13 Veiling  Veiling in the Islamic world is not monolithic and uniform, even within individual Islamic societies  Veiling is a multifaceted and polysemic institution, with a multiplicity of forms and meanings, both domestically and internationally polysemic = having a number of meanings, interpretations polysemic = having a number of meanings, interpretations

14 14 Despite the Islamic regime's attempt at uniformity, many Iranian women assert their "individuality" by improvising on theme of Islamic veiling  Some have reverted to the traditional long black veil (chador) so that they can dress any way they like underneath  Others use colorful scarves interwoven with gold and silver threads  Some wrap scarves differently  Others show strands of highlighted hair  Issue in Iran is no longer to veil or not to veil, but how to veil, to "veil well" or "veil bad“  "Although the veil itself is not subject to negotiation, what emerges from this continuous and subtle subversion of authority is a public and highly politicized debate about the particular way the veil is worn, the specific colors chosen, or the arena within which women can appear and work" (p. 378)


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