Category Archives: 2014-2015

“The Tempting of Europe: a Schmittian Reading of Christianity and Islam in European Constitutionalism” – Prof. Susanna Mancini (March 13, 2015)

Poster for the event "The Tempting of Europe".March 13, 2015

“The Tempting of Europe: a Schmittian Reading of Christianity and Islam in European Constitutionalism” Prof. Susanna Mancini (Università di Bologna)

12:00pm to 1:30pm

Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 318, 170 St. George Street

This talk examines legal and political responses to the growing presence of Islam in the European public sphere through the lens of Carl Schmitt’s thought. It will point out how such responses draw on an essentialist and idealized notion of the people, and aim at artificially reinforcing the culturally and religiously homogeneous character of the European public sphere, thus pursuing an ‘identitarian’ model of democracy.  The talk then turns to the political use of Christianity to define and sustain European identity, to conclude that the role attributed to the ‘Christian roots’ of Europe in contemporary discourses is analogous to the role that Schmitt ascribed to the Catholic Church in representing the values which were the essence of European civilization and separated it from ‘uncivilized’ others.

Susanna Mancini is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bologna,Image of Professor Susanna Mancini. where she teaches comparative constitutionalism.  She is also a visiting professor at the Fordham School of Law and an adjunct professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.  She has written extensively on comparative constitutional issues, exploring questions of constitutional symbolism, gender and the law, self-determination, and secularism.  Her most recent co-edited collection is entitled Constitutional Secularism in an Age of Religious Revival (Oxford, 2014).

This talk is presented in association with the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative, at the University of Toronto, Department for the Study of Religion.

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“Religion, Vaccines, and Violence: Anxiety about the End of ‘The World'” – Prof. Paul Bramadat (January 22, 2015)

Image of event poster for “Religion, Vaccines, and Violence: Anxiety about the End of 'The World'".January 22, 2015

“Religion, Vaccines, and Violence: Anxiety about the End of ‘The World'” Prof. Paul Bramadat (University of Victoria)

12:30pm to 2:00pm, Room 2027, Osgoode Hall Law School

RSVP Required:, Event Code: LRST9

What happens when our institutions, practices, laws, and norms are challenged by individuals and groups attached to potentially irreconcilable accounts of the world?  Two recent research projects – one examining religious and cultural reasons for vaccine hesitancy, and the other exploring religious radicalization and securitization – demonstrate how we do — and how we might — respond to situations in which dominant and minority accounts of reality clash and in which these conflicts have tangible consequences.  Our approaches to such moments reveal a great deal not just about the modern self and society, but also prevailing approaches to religious or extra-secular claims and communities.

Paul Bramadat - "Religion, Vaccines, and Violence" (January 2015)

Paul Bramadat – “Religion, Vaccines, and Violence” (January 2015)

Paul Bramadat is Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society and holds teaching appointments in the Department of History and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Victoria. His current research focuses on the intersections between secularism, religious radicalization, securitization, post-colonialism, and religious identity in contemporary Canada. Author and editor of numerous books, his most recent co-edited collection was entitled Religious Radicalization and Securitization in Canada and Beyond (Toronto, 2014).

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“Bad Jews and Soft Crimes: Dispatches from the Construction of Masculinity” – Prof. Sarah Imhoff (October 15, 2014)

Imhoff1October 15, 2014

“Bad Jews and Soft Crimes: Dispatches from the Construction of Masculinity”

Prof. Sarah Imhoff (Indiana University)

12:30pm to 2:00pm, Room 2027, Osgoode Hall Law School

RSVP Required:, Event Code: LRST8

How do cultural assumptions about religion and gender interact with criminality? In their historical attempts to understand crime, biological and racial theories have smuggled in implicit notions of gender. Similarly, ideas about religion—or its absence—made their way into both legal and media conversations about crime. Because Jewishness has historically lay at the nexus of race and religion, this talk will explore historical moments when Jewish men stood accused of high-profile crimes. Jews and non-Jews, scientists and attorneys, clergy and laymen all weighed in. While their disagreements were often predictable, these diverse cultural voices nevertheless had one area of remarkable agreement: the characteristics of Jewish masculinity. This talk will explore what happens when conceits about a gentle Jewish manhood collide with the facts of crimes, and what that tells us about the power and endurance of images of gender, religion, and crime in the cultural imaginary.Imhoff-sarah_lg

Sarah Imhoff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University.  She writes on gender and American Judaism, the role of the body and medical discourse in Jewish identity, and the history of the field of Religious Studies, especially in its relation to US law.  She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism, to be published with New York University Press.

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