Religous Norms

Religious Norms in the Public Sphere (RPS): Florence

iGov- the Institutions and Governance program – in association with the Mediterranean Program of the Robert Schuman Center for advanced studies  (RSCAS)  has organized, an international, interdisciplinary meeting for scholars exploring the issue of religious norms in the public sphere (RPS) under the supervision of Prof. Olivier Roy. 

This workshop took place in Florence on December 10-12, 2009.

For the workshop's program: program


Program: Religious Norms in the Public Sphere, Florence 2009


Thursday, December 10, 2009

6:00 to 7:30 PM


Heddy Riss, Program Director of iGov, UC Berkeley

Keynote Lecture:  Professor Olivier Roy, European University Institute, head of the Mediterranean program at RSCAS: “Religious Norms in the Public Sphere: Triumph or Defeat of Multiculturalism?”

Friday, December 11, 2009

9:30-10:30 AM

What is religious in “religious norms”? How to address or ignore the specificity of religion?

Patrick Haenni, Swiss Religoscope Foundation and Husam Tammam, Swiss Religoscope Foundation: “Minarets and Niqab's ... The State of the Debate in Islamic and Secular Public Spaces: Are There Non-religious Public Spaces?”

Christopher Kutz, UC-Berkeley Law School: "Understanding Liberalism in the Modern World"

Nadia Marzouki, Yale University: “Islam as an Object of Public Speech in France and North-America”


11:15-12:15 PM

Holistic models and real practices

Baudouin Dupret, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS): "What is Islamic Law? Looking at Legislative and Judicial Practices"

Alexandre Caeiro, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: “Understanding Minority Fiqh”

Emran Qureshi, Harvard Law School: "Enforcing Religious-Political Norms: The Use of Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws in Muslim-Majority Polities”

About the Religious Norms in the Public Sphere

From the ban of minarets in Switzerland, to the question of crucifixes in public schools in Italy, to the English High Court ruling on Jewish identity in the case of admission to an orthodox Jewish high school: the sacred has emerged into secular democratic politics.

This “return to the sacred” encompasses both a reemergence of religious norms and ideas into public sphere and, as a result of globalization, an increasing disconnect between religious norms and regional cultural markers.

In our post-9/11 world, the media has focused on ‘newly’ discovered Muslim populations in the West, often casting this religious group in ethnic terms. This has led Western governments to use problematic tools and lenses - assimilation, secularization, and multiculturalism - to deal with religious “minorities’” role in the public sphere. These are problematic because they mistake the relation of religion to culture and politics within pluralistic states. The Religious Norms in the Public Sphere network (RPS), anchored by U.C. - Berkeley and the  Robert Schuman Center of the European University Institute (EIU), aims to shed new light on these issues by recasting the supposed tensions between Islam and the West in light of broader questions about religion’s relationship to modern politics and society.  The RPS international scholarly network will analyze the call by people of all faiths for greater recognition of religious norms by governments, legislatures, and schools.