Politics of Religious Freedom studies how religious freedom is being transformed through legal and political contestations in the United States, the Middle East, South Asia, and the European Union.
Departing from the assumption that there is a single and stable conception of religious liberty—enshrined in international law, the United Nations protocols and national constitutions—this project undertakes a comparative study of the multiple historical trajectories, concepts, and practices now organized under the rubric of religious freedom.
Funded by a three-year (2011-2014) grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs, the project is jointly based at the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University's Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and will be affiliated with SUNY-Buffalo Law and University of Maryland Law.
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The project brings together academics, key human rights and civil society organizations, along with jurists and policy makers who have helped to reshape the debate on religious freedom in the United States, the European Union, India, Egypt, and South Africa. Project Leaders:
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
(University of Maryland Law)
Public Discussion Series
The project team has organized a public discussion series on the Social Science Research Council blog The Immanent Frame in which scholars from different fields consider the multiple histories and genealogies of religious freedom.
A co-authored handbook to be used by legal practitioners and civil society organizations
Translations of, and commentaries on, key legal cases involving religious freedom from India, Egypt, and South Africa
Key papers from project workshops (to be held in Venice, Bombay, and Cairo) and proceedings of the capstone conference in special issues of journals in the fields of anthropology, international law, religion, and international relations.
Developing undergraduate and graduate syllabi on the comparative history of religious freedom globally
Supporting four graduate students (over a period of two years) to serve as interns in two legal aid organizations in Egypt and India with whom the research team will be collaborating