Mayanthi Fernando is an Associate Professor for the Social Sciences Division of the Anthropology Department at the University of California in Santa Cruz. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A., Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her teaching interests include: anthropology of Islam, politics and secularism, religion and gender/sexuality, modernity and difference, postcolonial Britain and France, anthropology of freedom, anthropology of Western Europe, and multiculturalism. Her 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. Her 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.
Mayanthi Fernando's talk is part of the Intellectual Workshop series.