Political secularism, separating ‘the political’ and ‘the religious’, is often presented as an impartial framework for living together in a pluralist society. At the same time, secularism came into existence in Christian Europe and it has been criticized for its incompatibility with non-Christian religions. This raises the question to which extent political secularism in Western Europe today is still influenced by a Christian body of thought and, if so, whether this privileges Christians over others. In other words, if the conceptual framework of political secularism developed through a particular Christian and post-Christian trajectory, how suitable is this framework in an age of pluralism?
In her PhD project, Anna Sophie Lauwers investigates to which extent political secularism in Europe is still influenced by its Christian past, and whether it contributes to a (secular) Christian hegemony at the expense of religious and racial minorities. She focuses primarily on the work of Gil Anidjar and Charles Taylor, bridging debates in critical secularism studies and normative political philosophy.