States of Conversion: Regulating Religion and Belief in Comparative Perspective

Mardi, 27 Juin, 2017 - 12:00

REPI Research Seminar

Lecture by Mona ORABY, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Tuesday, June 27th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm

ULB Solbosch - IEE 39 Av. F. D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles (Geremek Room) 

Open to all but online registration required : ► access registration form

Poster PDF

Abstract : The freedom to change religion or belief is entangled in processes of state legitimation across various modern contexts. Despite the rapid rate at which social practices are generally becoming regulated worldwide, little is known about how states fashion religious belief and practice for the purposes of domestic governance. This talk considers state-run conversion programs in Egypt and Israel to show that states today, by inaugurating or refining complex administrative systems to assuage the challenges of social pluralism, unwittingly entrench communal differences. I examine the variation in how and why particular social practices are sanctioned in order to advance an argument about the iterative nature of nation-building and state formation.

Mona Oraby is the Jerome Hall Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Law, Society, and Culture at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She specializes in the study of comparative law and religion with a regional focus on the Middle East. She has ongoing interests in secularism and secularity, the relationship between conversion and modern governance, as well as the legal processes through which religious majorities and minorities are constructed over time.

Her current book project is Administering Religious Difference: Secularism, Minorities, and the Rule of Law. Using modern Egypt as a case study and other comparative cases in the region and elsewhere, the book examines administrative conflicts that arise from dual constitutional commitments to religious establishment and legal equality. The study considers the implications of these conflicts for minority rights, the role of religion in public life, and the possibility of interreligious relations.

Mona earned her PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University where she was a Graduate Fellow in the Center for Legal Studies, the International Studies Program, and the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.