Malek Chebel
Enlightenment Islam
in Secularism, Islam and public intellectuals in contemporary France
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The chapter will critically assess Chebel’s thought via an engagement with a variety of his monographs, essays and articles published in France between 2002 and 2016. Despite the wide range of topics under discussion in Chebel’s work, it is possible to nevertheless identify a number of recurring themes such as reason, subjectivity, secularism, the body, love and sexuality in Islam. His approach could be described as a project of cultural translation, in which Chebel can be regarded as a cultural mediator who seeks to productively confront non-Western and Western concepts of religion, spirituality, modernity and humanism. Of specific significance is Chebel’s foregrounding of a language of Islamic secularism, which can be interpreted as an attempt to transform perceptions of Islam and thus to intervene in the symbolic relationship between the Republican ideology of laïcité and France’s Muslim citizens.

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