New philosophy book to reshape debate on secularism

What is secularism? Is it the independence of the law of the state or are we just dreaming that politics and religion are actually separated? Stathis Gourgouris argues in Lesson in Secular Criticism that this is a false dilemma. In our contemporary world, secularism expresses the citizens' potential to actively participate in common concerns. The free individual in the secular age parallels the ability to be critically engaged. Secularism is another name for radical democracy. 

The first book in a new series edited by a University of Western Sydney academic and published by a leading international American university press in philosophy has just been released.

Published by Fordham University Press, Lessons in Secular Criticism by Professor Stathis Gourgouris is the inaugural volume of the books series of the Thinking Out Loud: The Sydney Lectures in Philosophy and Society.

Organised in conjunction with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the New South Wales State Library, the Thinking Out Loud lecture series sees a leading international thinker visit the University of Western Sydney annually for a series of public lectures.

The book expands the theories first unveiled in the 2012 lecture series by Professor Stathis Gourgouris, the Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.

The chair of the Thinking Out Loud lectures and editor of the book series, Dr Dimitris Vardoulakis, from the UWS School of Humanities and Communication Arts, says the book is an important milestone for the University.

"Fordham University Press is currently the most influential publisher in the area of Continental Philosophy in the world, and no other university in Australia has a book deal like this," he says.

"What makes this even more special is the quality of the manuscript. Professor Gourgouris is a director of a research institute at an Ivy League university, and as this book makes such a decisive intervention into secularism it will have a big impact in philosophy and be referenced by scholars for years to come."

"As the book series is an annual event, much like the lectures, UWS is well positioned to continue to shape international debates on hot philosophical topics," says Dr Vardoulakis.

The book series will continue with the publication from Professor Bonnie Honig, from Brown University, who followed Professor Gourgouris at the Thinking Out Loud series.

Joining UWS for the 2014 lecture will be Professor Peter Szendy, from the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, in a series of talks on "The Aesthetic Supermarket".



22 August 2013

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer