Call for Papers: The Legitimate Scope of Religious Establishment (March 7-9, 2016)

The Fondazione Studium Generale Marcianum in Venice has issued a call for papers for a conference, “The Legitimate Scope of Religious Establishment, to take place on March 7-9, 2016:

 How best to deal with the relationship between law and religion is one of the fundamental questions that every liberal democratic country must encounter. Comparative constitutionalism worldwide sees a large spectrum of state and religion models. The American model of separation, for instance, is an exception in liberal-democratic countries, where one can find a variety of ways in which religions get support from the state. In some democracies there is even explicit acknowledgement of one religion as the official religion of the state.

While it is clear that most democracies reject the idea that religion should be privatized, one is still hard pressed to ask: What are the essential features of establishment regimes? Should any limits be set to the establishment of religion? Are there any means of support that should necessarily be ruled out? May a decent state grant preferential treatment to one religion over other religions (or some of them)? If so, on what legitimate basis could this be done, and in what ways?

This workshop will be devoted to a discussion of these questions and other related topics. We are especially focused on papers that address normative questions about establishment of religion from a particular point of view, but comparative papers are welcome too. The keynote speaker will be Prof. Joseph Weiler.

Scholars are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by April 15th, 2015. Abstracts will be evaluated by the organizing committee and decisions made in May 2015. Please direct all abstracts and queries to: gideon.sapir@biu.ac.il or andrea.pin@unipd.it.

Mustafa, “Identity and Political Participation Among Young British Muslims: Believing and Belonging”

In January, Palgrave Macmillan released “Identity and Political Participation Among Young British Muslims: Believing and Belonging” by Asma Mustafa (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies). The publisher’s description follows:

The integration of British born young Muslims into wider society is one of9781137302526
the most topical issues challenging policy makers in modern Britain. As citizens with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds they have aspirations, values and interests which may seem difficult to accommodate within a Western European social and political context.

For an intelligent and well informed analysis of the dynamic nature of social and political integration, we need to listen to the voices of young British Muslims, males and females; and record the diversity of their experiences as citizens. Understanding their motivations and political concerns are key factors in illuminating their identity and predicting their political action. The challenge for informed policy-making is to avoid simple stereotyping of faith communities and examine more deeply the key drivers of identity formation and political engagement of young British Muslims.

Endelman, “Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History”

In February, Princeton University Press released “Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History” by Todd M. Endelman (University of Michigan). The publisher’s description follows:

Between the French Revolution and World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jews left the Jewish fold—by becoming Christians or, in liberal states, by intermarrying. Telling the stories of both famous and obscure individuals, Leaving the Jewish Fold explores the nature of this drift and defection from Judaism in Europe and America from the eighteenth century to today. Arguing that religious conviction was rarely a motive for Jews who became Christians, Todd Endelman shows that those who severed their Jewish ties were driven above all by pragmatic concerns—especially the desire to escape the stigma of Jewishness and its social, occupational, and emotional burdens.

Through a detailed and colorful narrative, Endelman considers the social settings, national contexts, and historical circumstances that encouraged Jews to abandon Judaism, and factors that worked to the opposite effect. Demonstrating that anti-Jewish prejudice weighed more heavily on the Jews of Germany and Austria than those living in France and other liberal states as early as the first half of the nineteenth century, he reexamines how Germany’s political and social development deviated from other European states. Endelman also reveals that liberal societies such as Great Britain and the United States, which tolerated Jewish integration, promoted radical assimilation and the dissolution of Jewish ties as often as hostile, illiberal societies such as Germany and Poland.