Nivedita Menon, "Secularism As Misdirection: Critical Thought from the Global South" (Duke UP, 2024)


In this episode, we speak to Nivedita Menon about her new book, Secularism as Misdirection: Critical Thought from the Global South (Duke University Press, 2024; Permanent Black, 2023). 

Secularism as Misdirection is an ambitious and wide-ranging work, unravelling a term that is perhaps as contentious as it is ubiquitous in discourses of the Global South. Working across political theory, legal history, and religious thought, Menon reveals the dangers of secularism's false promise—likening it to a magic trick that draws "attention from where the trick is happening ... to objects that are made to appear more fascinating." 

Nivedita Menon is Professor at the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Her previous books include Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and the landmark work, Seeing like a Feminist (Penguin/Zubaan, 2012). She has co-authored and edited several volumes, including Power and Contestation: India Since 1989 (2nd edition: Bloomsbury, 2013). In addition to her award-winning work as a scholar and translator, Menon is a prominent public intellectual, whose writing on issues such as academic freedom and feminist politics in India can be read at, a vital independent blog that she helped found.

Arnav Adhikari
is a doctoral candidate in English at Brown University, where he works on the aesthetics and politics of Cold War South Asia. His writing has appeared in Postcolonial Text and Global South Studies, amongst other venues.

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