The Politics of Secularism in International Relations

By Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Secularism and Islam

In conflict resistless each toil they endur'd,
Till their foes shrunk dismay'd from the war's desolation:
And pale beam'd the Crescent, its splendor obscured
By the light of the star-spangled flag of our nation

Where each flaming star gleam'd a meteor of war,
And the turban'd head bowed to the terrible glare.
Then mixt with the olive the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.

Our fathers who stand on the summit of fame,
Shall exultingly hear, of their sons, the proud story,
How the young bosoms glow'd with the patriot flame,
How they fought, how they fell, in the midst of their glory,

How triumphant they rode, oe'r the wandering flood,
And stain'd the blue waters with infidel blood;
How mixt with the olive, the laurel did wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.1

WRITTEN BY MARYLAND LAWYER Francis Scott Key in 1805, these two verses of what would in 1814 become the American national anthem celebrate the accomplishments of postrevolutionary American soldiers in the war against Tripoli in the early years of the American republic. The lyrics suggest that early American national identity was composed at least in part of American (“star-spangled flag”) opposition to, and victory over, Muslims (the “Crescent,” “infidel blood”).

There is a multidisciplinary attempt underway to understand how the West has been constituted through interactions with other societies. As Lockman argues, however, “exploration of how the modern West has in crucial ways been shaped, if not constituted, by its interactions with other societies is still at an early stage and remains vastly outweighed by the huge scholarly and popular literature that takes for granted the West's self-conception as a distinct and self-generated civilization and then focuses on the West's impact on the rest of the world.”2 In the field of international relations, Inayatullah and Blaney suggest that “each culture brings to the interactions (changeable) images of itself and others that are prefigured by myths, texts, and traditions. The study of international relations requires comparative and historical analysis of

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The Politics of Secularism in International Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Varieties of Secularism 23
  • Chapter Three - Secularism and Islam 46
  • Chapter Four - Contested Secularisms in Turkey and Iran 65
  • Chapter Five - The European Union and Turkey 84
  • Chapter Six - The United States and Iran 102
  • Chapter Seven - Political Islam 116
  • Chapter Eight - Religious Resurgence 134
  • Chapter Nine - Conclusion 147
  • Notes 155
  • Select Bibliography 213
  • Index 237
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