About the Cape Town Workshop

PRF South Africa CroppedThe right to religious liberty is a powerful and enduring feature of contemporary ethical, legal and political thought.  Recent work in intellectual history and the comparative history of ideas, however, has begun to question reigning narratives advancing the simultaneous neutrality and universality of the right to religious freedom and to provide more complex assessments of the multiple histories and genealogies of religious freedom.

Two critical trajectories in particular have emerged: one which reexamines early modern European and post-Enlightenment histories and anthropologies of the right to religious liberty and seeks to make visible both their provincial character and contingent relationship to rival religious and political projects; another which analyzes the development of the concept of religious liberty in non-Western histories during the colonial and post-colonial periods in order to re-think the normative and prescriptive accounts of religious liberty often found in international law and human rights debates.

In light of these critical engagements, this workshop aimed to explore the kinds of politics being carried out today in the name of religious freedom in Southern Africa, the forms of normative contestation and hybridization that have occurred, and both the colonial and post-colonial origins and agendas of religious liberty.

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Cape Town Workshop Program
Cape Town Participants