Course Materials: “Religious Freedom and the Rights of Religious Minorities”

Religious Freedom and the Rights of Religious Minorities

“Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices” Project

Henry Luce Foundation

Course materials

(Last update: February 2012)


This course aims to introduce students to the comparative study of modern efforts to legally institutionalize religious freedom, bringing together histories of these efforts with contemporary law materials from a variety of settings. It is a work in progress. We welcome comments and suggestions.

Divided into modules, the course is designed to be able to be adapted to a variety of teaching contexts.


I.  Basic documents and sources

African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Organisation of African Unity. 1986.

Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. Organization of Islamic Cooperation. 1990.

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 1981.

European Court of Human Rights, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 2010.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (Articles 1, 2, 18& 27).

MacLear, J.F. ed. Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. General Comment No. 22 (48), UN Doc CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, 1993.

Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948. Article 18.

II. Histories of religious freedom and human rights

Asad, Talal. “Redeeming the ‘Human’ in Human Rights.” In Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003: 127-158.

Casanova, José. Public Religions in the Modern World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Collins, Jeffrey R. “Redeeming the Enlightenment: New Histories of Religious Toleration,” Journal of Modern History 81, no. 3 (September 2009): 607-636.

Danchin, Peter. “The Emergence and Structure of Religious Freedom in International Law Reconsidered.” Journal of Law and Religion 23 (2008): 455-534.

Evans, Malcolm D. Religious Liberty and International Law in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997: 42-144.

Haefeli, Evan. “Toleration and Empire: The Origins of American Religious Pluralism.” In Stephen Foster, ed. The American Colonies in the British Empire, 1607-1776. Oxford: Oxford University Press: Forthcoming.  (A supplemental volume of the Oxford History of the British Empire.)

Hamburger, Philip. Separation of Church and State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Hunter, Ian. Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Kaplan, Benjamin J. Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe.  Harvard: Belknap, 2007.

Keane, Webb. Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Krishnaswami, Arcot. Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practices. New York: United Nations, 1960.

Moore, R. Laurence. “Common Principles, Different Histories: Understanding Religious Liberty in the United States and France.” Modern Intellectual History 7, 2 (2010): 459-478.

Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Cambridge: Belknap, 2010.

Peterson, Merrill D. and Robert C. Vaughan, eds. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Van der Vyver, Johan D. and Witte, John. eds. Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective: Legal Perspectives. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1996.

III.    Religion and Law: Classic Works

Asad, Talal. Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Bowen, John R. Islam, Equality, and Law in Indonesia: An Anthropology of Public Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Comaroff, John L. and Roberts, Simon. Rules and Processes: The Cultural Logic of Dispute in an African Context. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press, 1995.

Ginzburg, Carol. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Goodrich, Peter. Oedipus Lex: Psychoanalysis, History, Law. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Hallaq, Wael. “What is Shari’a?” in Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, Vol. 12, Eugene Cotran, Martin Lau, & Victor Kattan, Eds. (Leiden: Brill: 2007): 151-180.

Harrison, Peter. ‘Religion’ and Religions in the English Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Latour, Bruno. The Making of Law: An Ethnography of the Conseil d’Etat. Cambridge: Polity, 2010.

Rosen, Lawrence. The Anthropology of Justice: Law as Culture in Islamic Society.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Maine, Henry. Ancient Law. Frederick, MD: Beard Books, 2000.

Murphy, Timothy. The Oldest Social Science: Configurations of Law and Modernity. New York: Oxford University Press USA, 1997.

Smith, Jonathan Z. “The Devil in Mr. Jones.” In Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown. University of Chicago, 1988.

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. The Meaning and End of Religion. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1991.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Penguin Classics, 2002.

      Challenging the Secularity of Law

Agrama, Hussein Ali, “Secularism, Sovereignty, Indeterminacy: Is Egypt a Secular or a Religious State?” Comparative Studies in Society & History 52:3 (2010): 495-523.

Anidjar, Gil. “Secularism.” Critical Inquiry 33 (Autumn 2006): 52-77.

Ahmed, Asad Ali. 2009. “Spectres of Macaulay: Blasphemy, the Indian Penal Code, and Pakistan’s Postcolonial Predicament,” in W. Mazzarella and R. Kaur (eds.) Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 172-205.

Berger, Benjamin L. “The Cultural Limits of Legal Tolerance,” Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2008, pp. 245-277.

Chatterjee, Nandini. “English Law, Brahmo Marriage, and the Problem of Religious Difference: Civil Marriage Laws in Britain and India,” Comparative Studies in Society & History 52:3 (2010): 524-552.

Engel, David M. and Jaruwan Engel. Tort, Custom, and Karma: Globalization and Legal Consciousness in Thailand. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2010.

Johnson, Greg. Sacred Claims: Repatriation and Living Tradition. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007.

Mahmood, Saba. “Secularism, Hermeneutics and Empire: The Politics of Islamic Reformation,” Public Culture 18:2 (2006): 323-347.

Masuzawa, Tomoko. Inventing World Religions: Or, How European Universalism was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2005.

Rivers, Julian. The Law of Organized Religions: Between Establishment and Secularism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Sullivan, Winnifred Fallers, Robert A. Yelle, and Matteo Taussig-Rubbo, eds. After Secular Law. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.

Sullivan, Winnifred Fallers. The Impossibility of Religious Freedom. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Blasphemy and religious freedom

Asad, Talal, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood.  Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

Viswanathan, Gauri. “Blasphemy and Heresy: The Modernist Challenge,” Comparative Studies in Society & History 37 (199 1995), 37 : pp 399-4125): 399-412.

Transnational politics of religious freedom

Bowen, John R. “Secularism: Conceptual Genealogy or Political Dilemma?” Comparative Studies in Society and History. 52:3 (2010): 680–694.

Cady, Linell E. and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, eds. Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

Çitak, Zana “Between ‘Turkish Islam’ and ‘French Islam’: The Role of the Diyanet in the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2009): 1-16.


VII.      Minorities and religious freedom

Asad, Talal. “Muslims as a ‘Religious Minority’ in Europe.” In Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2003.

Danchin, Peter. “Suspect Symbols: Value Pluralism as a Theory of Religious Freedom in International Law,” Yale Journal of International Law, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 1-61, Winter 2008.

Goldberg, Carole E., Kevin K. Washburn, and Philip P. Frickey, eds. Indian Law Stories. New York: Foundation Press, 2011.

Hirschkind, Charles. “Religious Difference and Democratic Pluralism: Some Recent Debates and Frameworks,” Temenos 4 (2008).

Mahmood, Saba.  “Politics of Religious Freedom and the Creation of Minorities: A Middle Eastern Genealogy.”  Comparative Studies in Society and History.  Forthcoming 2012.

Mutua, Makau. “Limitations on Religious Rights: Problematizing Religious Freedom in the African Context,” in Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective: Legal Perspectives (J.D. van der Vyver & J.Witte, Jr., editors, 1996: 417-440. Reprinted in Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, vol. 5: 75-105 (1999).

VIII.  Religious freedom and education

Alberts, Wanda. Integrative Religious Education in Europe: A Study-of-Religions Approach. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007.

“Implementing a World Religions Class: One California District’s Experience,” California Three Rs: Rights, Responsibility, and Respect: A Project of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and The First Amendment Center. Vol. 5, No. 1 (October 2007).

Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools. ODIHR Advisory Council of Experts on Freedom of Religion and Belief, 2007.


IX. Legal pluralism and family law

Agnes, Flavia. “The Supreme Court, the Media, and the Uniform Civil Code Debate in India.”  In The Crisis of Secularism in India. Anuradha Dingwaney Needham and Rajsewari Sunder Rajan, eds. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006: 294-315.

Berger, Benjamin L. “The Cultural Limits of Legal Tolerance.” In After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement. Pamela E. Klassen & Courtney Bender, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010: 98-126.

Case, Mary Anne. “Marriage Licenses.” Minnesota Law Review 89 (2005): 1758-1797.

Deloria, Vine and David Wilkins. “The Constitutional Amendments.” In Tribes, Treaties, and Constitutional Tribulations. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000: 96-121.

Williams, Rowan. “Civil and Religious Law in England: a Religious Perspective.” 7 February 2008.


X. Law without a state

Miller, William Ian. Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis. In My Fathers Court. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997.



Case I: The cross, or “religion versus culture”

Ferrari, Alessandro . “Civil Religion in Italy: A ‘Mission Impossible’?” George Washington International Law Review 41 (2010): 839-859.

Lautsi and Others v. Italy. Application No. 30814/06. European Court of Human Rights.  18 March 2011.

Ries, Julien. “Crosses.” In Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Eliade Mircea. London: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1987: 155-166.

Sullivan, Winnifred F. “Why Are We Talking about Civil Religion Now?: Comments on ‘Civil Religion in Italy: A “Mission Impossible”?’ by Alessandro Ferrari,” George Washington International Law Review 41 (2010): 877-890.

Zubrzycki, Genevieve. The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2006.

Zucca, Lorenzo. “Lautsi – A Commentary of the Grand Chamber decision (14 April 2011).”  International Journal of Constitutional Law, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:


Case II: Religious freedom & American foreign policy

Castelli, Elizabeth A. “Theologizing Human Rights: Christian Activism and the Limits of Religious Freedom.”  In Non-Governmental Politics, Feher, Michel, Gaëlle Krikorian, and Yates McKee, eds. New York: Zone Books, 2007: 673-687.

Cozad, Laurie. “The United States’ Imposition of Religious Freedom: The International Religious Freedom Act and India.” India Review 4:1 (January 2005): 59-83.

Green, Joshua. “God’s Foreign Policy” Washington Monthly, November 2001.

McAlister, Melani. “The politics of persecution.” Middle East Report 249, Winter 2008.

Moore, Rick, “The Genres of Religious Freedom: Creating Discourses on Religion at the State Department.” In History, Time, Meaning and Memory: Ideas for the Sociology of Religion, B. Denison and J. Simpson., eds.  Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2011.

Sullivan, Winnifred. “Religious Freedom and the Rule of Law: A Modernist Myth in a Postmodern World?” In Religion im kulturellen Diskurs (FS H.G. Kippenberg) Brigitte Luchesi and Kocku von Stuckrad, eds. (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten 52) (Berlin: deGruyter, 2004): 595-614.

United States Department of State. International Religious Freedom Reports.


Case III: The Refah decision

Boyle, Kevin. “Human Rights, Religion and Democracy; The Refah Party Case,” Essex Human Rights Review Vol. 1, No. 1. 2004.

Case of Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey. Applications nos. 41340/98, 41342/98, 41343/98 and 41344/98. European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber). 13 Feb. 2003.

Haldun Gülalp, “The Poverty of Democracy in Turkey: The Refah Party Episode,” New Perspectives on Turkey 21 (1999): pp. 35-51.


Case IV: The Jewish Free School, or how to think about what is or is not religion

Boyarin, Daniel. “Rethinking Jewish Christianity: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (to which is Appended a Correction of my Border Lines).” Jewish Quarterly Review 99:1 (Winter 2009): 7-36.

Boyarin, Jonathan. “Another Abraham: Jewishness and the Law of the Father.” Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities 9 (1997): 345-394.

Judgment: R (on the application of E) (Respondent) v Governing Body of JFS and the Admissions Appeal Panel of JFS (Appellants) and others. Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. 16 December 2009.

Satlow, Michael L. Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis. In My Father’s Court New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991.

Weiler, Joseph H.H. “Discrimination and Identity in London: The Jewish Free School Case,” Jewish Review of Books No. 1 (Spring 2010).


Case V:  Gender and sexuality in debates over religious liberty

Brown, Nathan J. & Lombardi, Clark B. “The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt on Islamic Law, Veiling and Civil Rights: An Annotated Translation of Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Case No. 8 of Judicial Year 17 (May 18, 1996)” 21 American University International Law Review 437 (2006): 440-460.

Dogru v. France, App. No. 27058/05, 49 Eur. H.R. Rep. 179 (2008), pp. 15-24.

Şahin & Dogru (ECHR); Case No. 8 of Judicial Year 17 (Egyptian Supreme Court.

Şahin v. Turkey, App. No. 44774/98, 44 Eur. H.R. Rep. 99 (2007), pp. 8-30; 42-52.

Scott, Joan. Politics of the Veil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Ssenyonjo, Manisuli. “The Islamic Veil and Freedom of Religion, the Rights to Education and Work: A Survey of Recent International and National Cases.” Chinese Journal of International Law 6:3 (2007): 653-710.


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