Institut d'etudes Européennes
De l'Université libre de Bruxelles


Conference - "Advocating international religious freedom: religion, power, and politics after secularism" by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd , Northwestern University

Salle SPAAK, Institite for European Studies, ULB
39, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt
1050 Bruxelles

Conference with the support of the Jean Monnet Chair granted by the European Commission "Social and cultural dimensions of European integration » (SocEUR, 2012-2015).

"Advocating international religious freedom: religion, power, and politics after secularism"

by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd , Northwestern University

12.00 - 14.00

The promotion of religious freedom is ubiquitous.  An impressive array of states and international authorities has taken up the cause of promoting and legalizing religious freedom globally. The Canadian government and the European Union are recent examples.  This talk steps back from the excitement surrounding religious freedom advocacy to examine the power of religious freedom and the politics of governing social difference through religious rights.  Religious freedom advocacy singles out groups for legal protection as religious groups; molds religions into discrete “faith communities” with clean boundaries, clearly defined orthodoxies, and senior leaders who speak on their behalf; and privileges a modern liberal understanding of faith.  This has important implications for the politics of religious diversity, and particularly for dissidents, doubters, and those who identify with nonorthodox versions of protected traditions.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations and co-editor of Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (2010, 2013, paper). She is co-organizer of a 3-year collaborative research project funded by the Luce Foundation, “The Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices”.

Information: François Foret