New Book: Jennifer Selby, “Questioning French Secularism”

Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this book examines how contemporary secularism in France is positioned as a guarantor of Muslim women’s rights. Selby analyzes public discourses on secularism in France to consider how Islam becomes subsumed under the fetishized headscarf, how women’s bodies come to represent collective identities, and how the activism and engagement of suburban Muslim women with secular politics is ignored.

Jennifer Selby

Jennifer Selby

Project Responsibilities:

News for France and Canada, research, and some articles

Contact Info:

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL   A1C 5S7  Canada


Professional Positions: 

Current – Assistant Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Former – Postdoctoral Fellow, Islam in the West Program, Harvard University

Areas of Expertise:

  • Islam in the West (France, Canada)
  • Method and Theory, Secularization Theory
  • Islam, Interpretations of Sharia
  • Women and Islam, Gender Studies

Select Publications:

Questioning French Secularism: Gender Politics and Muslim Women in a Parisian Banlieue. February 2012. Contemporary Anthropology of Religion Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics and Family Law Arbitration. Spring 2012. Co-edited with Anna Korteweg. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

“French Secularism as a Guarantor of Women’s Rights? Islam and Gender Politics in a Parisian Banlieue.” 2011. Culture and Religion 12:4 (December): 1-22.

“Islam in France Reconfigured: Republican Islam in the 2010 Gerin Report.” 2011. The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs  31:3 (September): 383-398.

Professional Bio:

Jennifer Selby currently teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.