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Reconfiguring freedom: Muslim piety and the limits of secular law and public discourse in France



Through an analysis of the practice of veiling, I first examine how pious Muslim French women reconcile the dominant secular oppositions between personal autonomy and religious authority, and between the “true” self and religious norms, as they constitute themselves as religious subjects. I then turn to the 2004 law banning headscarves in public schools, and to the attendant public debates, exploring how this Muslim French religiosity was rendered incommensurable in secular law and unintelligible in public discourse. In so doing, I bring into focus both the underlying assumptions and exigencies of French secularity as well as some of its aporias.