Secularism Dissected

This course introduces students to key critiques of secularism and liberalism.
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  • Curriculum

How do we navigate a secular age? What is secularism? What would a critique of secularism look like? This course seeks to answer these three questions through a comprehensive dissection of secularism. This course is unique in that it provides the concepts needed to critique secularism and introduces students to key literature, including but not limited to those of Talal Asad, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre. By the end of the course, students will be equipped with foundational concepts needed to critique secularism and understand how to navigate a secular age. The course also covers the most pervasive form of secularism: liberalism.

The topics covered include an introduction to secularism and the historical processes involved in its formation. The course then goes on to tackle key claims of secularism: the so-called inevitability of secularism (secularization) and the supposed neutrality of secularism. The course also covers four critiques of secularism from an Islamic perspective. In short, not only will this course cover an internal critique of secularism, but will also equip students with the concepts needed to critique secularism from the point of view of our own tradition. The ultimate aim of this course is to enable Muslims to critically engage the world in a secular age, to reclaim our critical consciousness and chart new futures.

Ali S. Harfouch

Ali S. Harfouch obtained his Master of Arts degree in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. He is the author of Against the World: Towards an Islamic Liberation Philosophy as well as more than a dozen articles. He specializes in political philosophy and politics in the Muslim world. You can find his work on