The post in postsecular assumes the prior existence of secularism as a dominant social sensibility that can and should be superseded. Taking as its point of departure the fact that, for better or worse, secularism has never enjoyed such a hegemonic status in the United States, where supernatural beings are routinely assumed to intervene in earthly events, this essay rejects the term and asks how the scholarly community has come to see it as plausible. It answers this question by pointing to the cultural disciplines and their risky, though perhaps inevitable, respect for the concept of culture. It then proceeds to analyze the culturalism disguised by the vocabulary of Foucault in the work of anthropologists Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood. It concludes by reflecting on the concepts of gratitude and the visceral in the writings of political theorist William Connolly.

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