FORUM ON RELIGION SEMINAR
Speaker: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Northwestern University)
Chair: Mathijs Pelkmans
Date: Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Venue: Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, WC2A 2AE
What happens when social difference is conceived through the prism of religious rights and religious freedom? Far from occupying an autonomous sphere independent of religious affairs, human rights advocacy is a site of difference and governance that implicates religion in complex ways. This paper explores the consequences of a religious rights model for both politics and religion. It argues that this model regulates the spaces in which people live out their religion in specific and identifiable ways: singling out groups for legal protection as religious groups; moulding religions into discrete “faith communities” with clean boundaries, clearly defined orthodoxies, and seniorleaders who speak on their behalf; and privileging a modern liberal understanding of faith. The right to religious freedom is a specific, historically situated mode of governing difference through rights.
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd teaches and writes on the politics of religious diversity, the intersection of law and religion, the history and politics of US foreign relations, and the international relations of the Middle East including Turkey and Iran. She is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations (Princeton, 2008), which won an APSA award for the best book in religion and politics (2008-2010) and co-editor of Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (Palgrave, 2010) which will appear in paperback in 2013. Recent publications include “International politics after secularism” in Review of International Studies (2012) and “Contested secularisms in Turkey and Iran” in Contesting Secularism: Comparative Perspectives (Ashgate, 2013). Hurd is currently writing a book on the “strategic operationalization” of religion in international affairs and its implications for religion, law and public policy.
The event is free and open to all. For further information, please contact Dr Mathijs Pelkmans, firstname.lastname@example.org.