On Thursday evening, Michael Warner will give the annual LeBoff Lecture at New York University, for which he will draw on his ongoing work on secularism in antebellum America.

Professor Warner’s work ranges across a number of topics and styles, from scholarship in early American literature and print culture, to more theoretical writing about publics and social movements, to introductory editions and anthologies, to journalism and nonacademic political writing.  In connection with his work on print and the history of reading, he has been interested in several other disciplines, on topics such as new media, intellectual property.  One common thread across these fields is the way different social worlds are built up out of different circulating media and ways of reading or hearing.  At present he is working on a study of secularism.  It is partly a reflection on the dilemmas of secularism in the present; but that reflection is framed by a study of secular culture in America in the period before it was called secularism (roughly from the early eighteenth century to the Civil War).  This interest has led to two books currently in the works: one, a collection of essays co-edited with Craig Calhoun and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, is to be published by Harvard University Press in 2010 under the title Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age; it is a response to A Secular Age, by the philosopher Charles Taylor.  The other, to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, is based in the Rosenbach lectures he gave in the spring of 2009; it is to be titled The Evangelical Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America.

The lecture, entitled “Sex and Secularity,” will be hosted by NYU’s Council for Media and Culture. Details are available here.