2012 Julius Stone Address - Professor Ran Hirschl

16 August 2012
Professor Ran Hirschl
Professor Ran Hirschl

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Across the Seven Seas of Constitutional Law and Religion


Contrary to what many liberals predicted or wished for, not only has religion not vanished, but has instead gained a renewed momentum worldwide. One of the outcomes of this religious resurgence is that the comparative study of constitutional law and religion has never been as relevant or exciting as it is today. In particular, it begs the question of how constitutional law and courts have been dealing with the ever-intensifying struggle over the place of religion in the public sphere. That courts in "separationist" regimes of state-and-religion (e.g. France) take an overall religion-limiting stance is not surprising. Two notably more difficult settings for probing into how courts domesticate religion are (i) countries where strong constitutional establishment of religion exists (e.g. in the predominantly Muslim world); and (ii) countries that take great pride in advancing an official multicultural agenda (e.g. Canada).

In this Address, Professor Hirschl will present a comparative analysis of religion-and-state jurisprudence and interpretive ingenuity in such settings in order to delineate a possibly universal religion-taming logic of constitutional law and courts. This will also provide an opportunity to examine how truly comparative is the study of comparative constitutional law in general, and comparative constitutional law of religion in particular.


About the speaker:

Ran Hirschl (PhD, Yale 1999) is Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Toronto, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Constitutionalism and Democracy. In 2012, he received a Killam Research Fellowship—one of Canada's most prestigious research awards, granted by the Canada Council for the Arts. His research interests focus on comparative public law and legal institutions. He is the author of three books: Towards Juristocracy: The Origins and Consequences of the New Constitutionalism (Harvard University Press, 2004 & 2007), Constitutional Theocracy (Harvard University Press, 2010) - winner of the 2011 Mahoney Prize in Legal Theory, and Comparative Matters (Harvard University Press, forthcoming in 2013), as well as over 70 articles and book chapters on comparative constitutional law and politics. Hirschl has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), a Fulbright Scholar, and a Fellow at Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs. He served as Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and as Global Visiting Professor of Law at NYU. In 2010, he received a University of Toronto Outstanding Teaching Award, and delivered the Annual Lecture in Law and Society at Oxford University.

This event is generously sponsored by the Educational Heritage Foundation

This event will be chaired by Dr Kevin Walton, Director of the Julius Stone Institute.

Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this lecture is equal to 1.5 MCLE/CPD unit.

Time: 6-7.30pm (registration from 5.30pm)

Location: Sydney Law School, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Free however registration is essential

Contact: PLaCE Coordinator

Phone: 9351 0323

Email: 0a22104055153f261e4029361d291d0e16774e17235e2e04