I am delighted to announce a call for papers for the Religious Legal Theory Conference, now in its fifth year. Mark and I were pleased to host the conference in its second incarnation, where the theme was Religion in Law, Law in Religion.

This year’s conference is being put together by the superb Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory Law School, which is directed by the éminence grise of law and religion, John Witte. The theme this year is A Global Conversation: Exploring Interfaith and International Models for the Interaction of Religion and State. The conference will be held on February 24-25, 2014. Paper proposals are due November 30, 2013, with notification shortly thereafter. Please contact Dr. Mark Goldfeder of Emory Law School with your proposal.

Below the fold, the conference description and details of the call for papers.

Law and religion share an underlying structure built on commandments and corresponding commitments.  They also share a space in the formal regulation of a person’s daily life.  Oftentimes they attempt to legislate in the same specific areas, and oftentimes they come to different final conclusions, or to similar conclusions, but for very different reasons.  It is often said that law gives religion its structure, and religion gives law its spirit;  law encourages devotion to order and organization, while religion inspires adherence to both ritual and justice.  Law and religion influence each other in many different ways, but at some level they must establish formal rules for their interactions. This conference aims to explore how law, embodied in the state, manages and frames its relationship with religion, and how religions internally manage and frame their relationships with the state.

The following prompts are intended to guide the conference conversations. Please have your proposals/papers touch upon as many of these issues as possible so that we can have direct and pointed discussions.

1) If you are discussing a particular state, briefly describe that state’s model of governmental interaction with religion, both ideally and in practice.

2) A) How does religious liberty shape interactions between the state and the various religious actors in the state that you are presenting on? B) Does the interaction change depending on the religious identity of the actors? C) Does the interaction change depending on the religious freedom/liberty sought (for example, family law/personal status issues as opposed to tax exemptions)?

3)Does the state you are presenting on provide support (broadly defined) for religious activities/organizations? If so, what is the framework that the state has in place and what are the limitations, if any, for governmental interaction with religion? Have those policies been challenged or questioned?

4) How does the state you are presenting on deal with internal religious conflict and internal religious governance?

5) Reflecting on the questions above, how do religions and religious actors actually experience your state’s governmental involvement in religion?

6) If you are describing a particular religion or religious group, briefly describe the group’s ideal model of governmental interaction with religion. How does this ideal version of church/state interaction compare with the actual relationships between the group and the various states that it finds itself in?

7)  How has state law shaped both religious expression and underlying values, and how has religion shaped state law and underlying values in the country that you study?

8)  How do religions and religious actors interact with each other in the shadow of the state?

9) What is the role of religion in the public square? How do law, religion, and culture interact with each other in shaping and forming national identity/policy?

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