Strand 2 – Defining, Delimiting

How is religious expression defined and delimited in law and public policy?

Strand 2 considers the ways that religion is defined and delimited in the context of law and public policy. The aim is to trace the relation between the ideals associated with freedom of religion and state neutrality and the practical expression of these ideals in social, political and legal practices.

Please find below the list of Strand 2 team members. Click on the links in order to read their biographies and research statements. Click here to read about the projects carried out by the Strand 2 team members.


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Lori G. Beaman (Project Director)

University of Ottawa
Full Professor, Department of Classics and Religious Studies
Canada Research Chair in the Contextualization of Religion in a Diverse Canada

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James A. Beckford (Co-investigator)

University of Warwick
Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology

Lori G. Beaman is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change at the University of Ottawa. She received her PhD at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (1996). Beaman has taught at the University of Lethbridge, Concordia University and University of Ottawa. She held a Visiting Fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Bellagio, Italy in the fall of 2014.

Beaman has been co-editor (with P. Beyer) for the International Studies in Religion and Society (Brill) since 2007; she is the senior editor of Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies (Springer); and is a member of the editorial board of the Religion and the Social Order (Brill). She is the Canadian representative to the Council for the International Society for the Sociology of Religion – SISR/ISSR (2015-2019); a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (Executive Council Member 2013-2016). She is the past president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (2015-2016; Publications Committee, 2012; Member, Board of Directors, 2004-2007).

Books include: Deep Equality in an Era of Diversity (forthcoming), Constructions of Self and Other in Yoga, Travel, and Tourism: A Journey to Elsewhere (2016), Multiculturalism and Religious Identity: Canada and India (with S. Sikka, 2014), Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies (with S. Lefebvre, 2014), Polygamy’s Rights and Wrongs: Perspectives on Harm, Family, and Law (with G. Calder, 2014), Atheist Identities: Spaces and Social Contexts (with S. Tomlins, 2015), Issues in Religion and Education, Whose Religion? (with L. Van Arragon, 2015), and Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law (2008).

Recent book chapters include: “No Mosque, No Refugees: Some Reflections on Syrian Refugees and the Construction of Religion in Canada” (with J. Selby and A. Barras), in The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question (forthcoming), “Religion Outside the Law: Zones of Exemption for Majoritarian Religion through Culture and Heritage,” in La religion hors-la-loi: L’État libéral à l’épreuve des religions minoritaires (forthcoming), “Young People and Religious Diversity: A Canadian Perspective” (with P. Beyer and C.L. Cusack), in Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity (2016); and “Universal and Foundational: Law’s Constitution of an Ethic of Belonging for Nones,” in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion: Sociology of Atheism (2016).

Recent articles include: “Living Together v. Living Well Together: A Normative Examination of the SAS Case” (2016), “Religious Diversity: Transitions, Intersections, Flashpoints, and Institutions (Editorial)” and “Interview: Aims and Approaches,” Bulletin for the Study of Religion (2016), and “Deep Equality as an Alternative to Accommodation and Tolerance,” Nordic Journal of Religion and Society (2014).

Concerns about diversity and cohesion have usually focused on differences between religions. Increasingly, clashes between ‘the religious’ and ‘the secular’ point to the next frontier of potential tension, social disruption and violence. What I propose in my program of research is to take account of the growing category of people who self-describe as having no religion (nones) and who are now a majority amongst young people in some western and other countries, and to determine how this is impacting the religious landscape. More specifically, I seek to answer the following question: how can the religious and the nonreligious live well together? The potential impact of this shift is profound, yet the contours of this group have yet to be fully explored. Only by looking at the true range of contemporary diversity in this way will the research and policy breakthrough that is needed come about and for many reasons. Given its history of global leadership on human rights, multiculturalism, and practical engagement with diversity, Canada is well positioned to develop innovative strategies that will respond to an increasingly complex future.

The main objectives in my research are to identify and map the intersections of nonreligion and religion which create spaces of conflict or resolution; to develop new methodological tools to measure religion and non-religion; to analyze the processes by which conflict is deflected or accelerated; to create alternative frameworks and templates of negotiation for the resolution of difference as well as the identification of similarities; and to contribute to public debate as well as public policy about diversities and living well together in a plural society.

One of the goals in my research is to connect with a multi-disciplinary network of researchers who examine questions of religious diversity, a goal that is realized with the Religion and Diversity Project and its network of collaborations. A network is essential because the social and cultural issues in an increasingly religiously diverse nation and world are multi-faceted and require transdisciplinary engagement. The Religion and Diversity Project provides a centre where the dialogue, debate and integrative exploration of the issues of religious freedom can take place among scholars from all over the world by connecting Canadian and international scholars whose central focus of research is religion from sociology, anthropology, religious studies, history, philosophy, political science, and law.

James A. Beckford, Fellow of the British Academy, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Warwick. His PhD was awarded in 1972 by the University of Reading. He has held teaching and research positions at the University of Reading, the University of Durham, and Loyola University Chicago. He has also held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley; Tsukuba University, Japan; the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris.

In addition to editing Current Sociology (1980-87) and serving on the editorial boards of numerous journals and book series, he has been elected to the following offices in scholarly and professional associations: President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (1989-90), Vice-President of the International Sociological Association (1994-98), President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (1999-2003) and President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2010-11).

His most recent books are: Religion in Prison: Equal Rites in a Multi-Faith Society (with S. Gilliat, 1998), Social Theory and Religion (2003), Muslims in Prison: Challenge and Change in Britain and France (with D. Joly & F. Khosrokhavar, 2005), Theorising Religion: Classical and Contemporary Debates (edited with J. Walliss, 2006), The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (edited with N.J. Demerath III, 2007) and Migration and Religion (2 volumes, edited 2015). The Centrality of Religion in Social Life: Essays in Honour of James A. Beckford was edited by Eileen Barker in 2008.

All my current research activities are concerned with religion and boundaries. The central questions are about the social, cultural, political and legal processes of setting, enforcing, questioning, challenging and changing boundaries.

Religion in prisons: The research questions that interest me are about the administrative principles and everyday practices that establish boundaries between the acceptable and unacceptable forms of the religions practised by prisoners. These principles and practices may involve various forms of official recognition and prohibition; but they may also involve informal concessions and prejudice. Cross-national comparisons can help to explain the shifting location of boundaries and the conditions in which they are enforced or resisted. My personal research in the UK and France is connected to networks of scholars in Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic countries.

Religion and the state: The focus of my long-standing interest in the institutional frameworks of law and administrative practice governing the expression of religion has been on the emergence of ‘partnerships’ in the UK between the state and ‘faith communities.’ This represents a reconfiguration of boundaries and a re-framing of religion as a public utility with special reference to social welfare. The central research questions are about the risks of thereby reifying religion as an object of public policy and of using religion for the purpose of achieving policy objectives. Some of this work was conducted with the ‘Mercia group’ of scholars who produced in 2006 a ‘Review of the evidence base on faith communities’ for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Other questions reflect my scepticism about fashionable claims that religion is ‘resurgent’ in the public sphere of many so-called postsecular societies.

Religion, development and migration: My current research interest is in the twists and turns of sociological thinking about religion in relation to international development and to migration. The central argument is that researchers tend to approach religion as a dimension of international development and migration by focusing too narrowly on religious organizations and individual motivations. My aim is to show the value of thinking about the concept of religion in terms that highlight its more elusive, ambiguous and informal aspects.


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Valérie Amiraux (Co-investigator)

Université de Montréal
Associate Professor, Département de sociologie
Canada Research Chair for the Study of Religious Pluralism and Ethnicity

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Benjamin L. Berger (Co-investigator)

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Associate Professor

Valérie Amiraux est professeure agrégée au département de sociologie de l’Université de Montréal. Elle est titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en étude du pluralisme religieux (CRSH, 2007-2017).

Avant de s’installer à Montréal, elle a occupé différents postes en Europe, notamment au Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin), à l’Institut universitaire européen (Florence, Italie) et au CURAPP (Université Jules Verne Picardie-CNRS).

Ses recherches, initialement centrées sur les minorités musulmanes en Europe, portent aujourd’hui sur le rôle de l’arène juridique dans la régulation des conflits produits par l’expérience du pluralisme religieux et aussi sur une ethnographie de l’articulation entre pluralisme et radicalisation. L’ensemble de ces recherches sont mises en œuvre par des collaborations engagées par la Chaire et le CEETUM, le CCEAE, le CEUE, trois centres de recherches de l’Université de Montréal. Dans ces projets plus récents, plusieurs minorités croyantes (juives, sikhes, musulmanes) et différents contextes sont étudiés de manière comparée.

Le second mandat de la CRC part du constat suivant : la réalité de l’expérience du vivre ensemble (l’épreuve du pluralisme) ne garantit pas en soi le développement d’attitudes de tolérance vis-à-vis de l’autre minoritaire. Plus encore, sous certaines conditions, le partage d’espaces de vie communs semble contribuer au développement de relations d’hostilité voire de haine de l’autre. Les postures de rejets réciproques entre groupes majoritaires et minoritaires se multiplient, s’exprimant par des voies variées. Le spectre de ces attitudes négatives, qui va du désaveu informel à des manifestations plus explicites de rejet, se retrouve dans le durcissement de certaines décisions juridiques, dans les prises de positions virulentes de certains leaders religieux ou de leaders d’opinion laïcs notamment relayées par voie de presse. Ce diagnostic a conduit les chercheurs associés à la CRC à réfléchir à la définition d’un cadre de réflexion scientifique permettant à la fois de construire une conceptualisation théorique à l’intersection de plusieurs disciplines et d’élaborer des stratégies de recherche originales pour développer une double problématique. Deux lignes directrices s’articulent en effet, inspirées par les résultats des recherches engagées au cours du premier mandat de la CRC. La première a pour ambition de documenter empiriquement de manière ethnographique le lien entre le pluralisme, comme condition de vie des espaces démocratiques, et la radicalisation, généralement lue comme pathologie des systèmes démocratiques et au prisme de l’engagement extrémiste de certains acteurs. La question principale sous-jacente à ce premier axe de réflexion peut s’énoncer comme suit : dans quelle mesure la contrainte du pluralisme, c’est-à-dire l’idée qu’on ne peut échapper à ce cadre de vie dans les sociétés occidentales (dont le Québec) peut-elle nous aider à comprendre la montée des intolérances (racisme, stigmatisation, discrimination) ou les postures de repli de certains groupes (attitudes sectaires, communautarisme, isolement) ? La seconde a une dimension plus directement théorique et se fixe pour objectif de systématiser l’analyse des controverses publiques autour de la visibilité et des revendications de certaines minorités religieuses à partir d’une réflexion sur la légitimité des catégories de « religion » et de « race » pour lire les stigmatisation des altérités religieuses minoritaires. La question qui sous-tend ce second axe peut alors être formulée de la façon suivante : dans les sociétés sécularisées et pluralistes, de quoi la « religion » est-elle devenue le nom ?

Plusieurs subventions soutiennent ces travaux dont les deux principales sont:

  • PLURADICAL (équipe en émergence FQRSC, 2011-2013)
  • Subvention ordinaire de recherche (CRSH, 2010-2013)

B.A. with First-Class Honours (Alberta) 1999, LL.B. (UVic) 2002, LL.M. (Yale) 2004, J.S.D. (Yale) 2008, of the Bars of Ontario and British Columbia.

Professor Benjamin Berger’s areas of teaching and research specialization are criminal and constitutional law and theory, law and religion, and the law of evidence. He holds an appointment as an Associate Professor (status only) in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and is a member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. Prior to joining Osgoode, Professor Berger was an associate professor in the Faculty of Law and held a cross appointment in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, where he began teaching in 2004. He served as law clerk to the Rt. Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University.

He has published broadly in his principal areas of research and his work has appeared in multiple edited collections and in legal and interdisciplinary journals. He is the author of Law’s Religion: Religious Difference and the Claims of Constitutionalism (University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming 2015). Berger is the Editor in Chief of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society and is an associate editor for the Hart Publishing series Constitutional Systems of the World. He received the Canadian Associate of Law Teacher Prize for Academic Excellence in 2015, and the 2010 Canadian Association of Law Teacher’s Scholarly Paper Award for an article entitled “The Abiding Presence of Conscience: Criminal Justice Against the Law and the Modern Constitutional Imagination.” Professor Berger is active in professional and public education, and is involved in public interest advocacy. While at UVic Law, Professor Berger twice received the Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award, and was awarded the First Year Class Teaching Award; he received the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award in 2013. His recent research can be viewed at

Professor Berger is active in professional and public education, is involved in public interest advocacy, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada. While at UVic Law, Professor Berger twice received the Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award, and was awarded the First Year Class Teaching Award; he received the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award in 2013.

Professor Berger convenes the Osgoode Colloquium in Law, Religion & Social Thought.

My research focuses on the interaction of law and religion, raising questions of their historical and contemporary relationship, how religion and law influence and define one another, and how modern theories and practices of constitutionalism shape the relationship between public life/authority and the world of religious belief, practice, and community. In particular, my research attempts to explore a kind of phenomenology of law and religion, asking how religion is perceived and experienced by the law and legal culture, and how contemporary legal orders are encountered and understood from within religious cultures.

Among the variety of issues generated from these questions, the following are currently at the centre of my work:

Religion, Tolerance, and Legal Multiculturalism:

Canadians have come to understand the management of deep diversity from within a story about multiculturalism. Religious diversity as a public policy issue is overwhelmingly discussed as a matter of tolerance and accommodation, mandated by a policy of multiculturalism in which the law and legal institutions play a key managerial role. My work questions the adequacy of this account, exploring the theory, practices, and experience of legal toleration and the way in which a close examination of legal tolerance and accommodation shows the limits and commitments of legal culture, the boundaries of religion in public life, and the cross-cultural nature of the interaction of law and religion.

Judgment, Morality, and Religion:

I am keenly interested in the ethics and theory of judgment, both legal and otherwise. This focus has led me to study the nature of judgment in criminal and constitutional law and, recently, the way in which religion has historically shaped our understanding and practices of legal judgment. In contemporary constitutional and criminal law religion appears both as a particularly fraught subject of legal judgment (how do we assess religion and religious practices?) and as a cultural force that informs practices of legal judgment (what imprint have theological conceptions such as equity, retribution, mercy, and fear left on how we think about just judgment?).

Secularism, Political Theology, and Comparative Constitutionalism:

At the most general level, my research on law and religion inquires into the relationship between modern liberal legal culture and religion. I am interested in how various polities and constitutional traditions have understood the nature of religious freedom, secularism and public reason and, in particular, how these matters are understood and contested in Canada. The role of belief and value in the rule of law, as well as the imprint of history on our understanding of the modern liberal state, leads me also into questions about the deeper meanings and commitments that abide in our legal and political practices, question that have sometimes been characterized as matters of “political theology”.

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Anver Emon (Co-investigator)

University of Toronto
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law

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Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens (Collaborator)

Université de Montréal
Professor, Faculté de droit
Titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en identités juridiques et culturelles nord-américaines et comparées

BA (UC Berkeley), JD (UCLA School of Law), MA (History, Univ. of Texas at Austin), LLM (Yale Law School), and PhD (History, UCLA), Called to the California State Bar

Anver M. Emon is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Religion, Pluralism, and the Rule of Law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, specializing in Islamic law and teaching first-year torts. He is cross appointed (status only) to the Faculty of Social Work and the Centre for the Study of Religion. Anver’s research focus is on pre-modern and modern Islamic legal theory and history, His general academic interests include law and religion, legal history (medieval European and Islamic), and legal philosophy. His current research project concerns the dynamics of legal reasoning in Islamic legal history. He is called to the California State Bar. His various publications include Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, 2010); Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012), and a co-edited volume entitled Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). He is the founding editor in chief of Middle East Law and Governance, and general editor of the Oxford Islamic Legal Studies Series.

Areas of Research

Islamic legal history and theory, medieval European legal history, legal philosophy.

Selected publications

Islamic and Jewish Legal Reasoning: Encountering Our Legal Other (Oxford Oneworld Publications, 2016).

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue (Oxford University Press, 2014) (coauthored with Matthew Levering and David Novak).

Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). (co-editor with Mark Ellis and Benjamin Glahn).

Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

“The Limits of Constitutionalism in the Muslim World: History and Identity in Islamic Law,” in Constitutional Design for Divided Societies, ed. Sujit Choudhry (Oxford University Press, 2008).

“On the Pope, Cartoons, and Apostates: Shari’a 2006,” Journal of Law and Religion 22, no. 2 (2006-2007): 303-321.

“Huquq Allah and Huquq al-’Ibad: A Legal Heuristic for a Natural Rights Regime,” Islamic Law and Society 13, no. 3 (2006): 325-391.

(English Follows)

Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens est vice-doyen à la recherche et professeur titulaire à la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Montréal, où il occupe également la Chaire de recherche du Canada sur les identités juridiques et culturelles nord-américaines et comparées. Il a auparavant enseigné aux facultés de droit de l’Université de Toronto, de l’Université McGill et de l’Université d’Ottawa. Il a en outre été professeur invité dans différentes universités hors du Canada (Aix-Marseille, Science Po, Case Western). Ses principaux champs de recherche et d’enseignement sont le droit constitutionnel et le fédéralisme (canadien et comparé), les libertés civiles, la théorie du droit et la sociologie des cultures juridiques. Ses plus récents travaux s’intéressent à la saisie juridique des revendications religieuses dans les sociétés libérales multiculturelles, aux interactions entre les traditions de common law et de droit civil dans une économie mondialisée et à la théorie juridique du fédéralisme. Il est membre des Barreaux du Québec et de l’Ontario. Il est le correspondant canadien pour la revue britannique Public Law.


Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens is Associate Dean, Research, and Canada Research Chair in North American and Comparative Juridical and Cultural Identities. He has also taught at the faculties of law of the University of Toronto and of McGill University, in addition to having been visiting professor at different universities outside of Canada (Aix- Marseille, Science Po, Case Western). His teaching and research interests are constitutional law (domestic and comparative), civil liberties, legal theory and epistemology, and the sociology of legal cultures. His work currently focuses on the legal treatment of religious claims in multicultural liberal societies, on the relations between the civil law and common law traditions in a globalized economy, and on the legal theory of federalism. He is a member of the Québec and Ontario Bars. He serves as the Canadian correspondent for the British journal Public Law.

  • Droit public et constitutionnel canadien
  • Droit comparé droit civil/droit de common law
  • Politisation du religieux
  • Théorisation éthico-juridique du fédéralisme
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William Closson James (Collaborator)

Queen’s University
Professor Emeritus, Department of Religious Studies

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Richard Moon (Collaborator)

University of Windsor
Professor, Faculty of Law

Bill James is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He received his PhD in 1974 from the University of Chicago in the field of Religion and Literature. For thirty-five years he was a member of the Department of Religious Studies at Queen’s University where he taught in the areas of Religion and Culture, Religion in Canada, and Modern Religious Thought. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto and on four occasions at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan, as Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies.

For seven years he was the Book Review Editor of Studies in Religion /Sciences religieuses. On two occasions he was on the board of the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion. He has held various executive positions in the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion including that of President, 1996-98, and in the Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion.

Bill James’s most recent book is God’s Plenty: Religious Diversity in Kingston (2011). His previous books include Locations of the Sacred: Essays on Religion, Literature, and Canadian Culture (1998), Religious Studies in Ontario: A State-of-the-Art Review (with Dan Fraikin and Harold Remus, 1992), and A Fur Trader’s Photographs: A. A. Chesterfield in the District of Ungava, 1901-04 (1985). He has presented about three dozen conference papers and is the author of almost thirty articles published in edited collections or refereed journals. Among his better-known articles—and perhaps most exemplary of his scholarly focus—are “The Canoe Trip as Religious Quest,” published in Studies in Religion in 1981, and “Dimorphs and Cobblers: Ways of Being Religious in Canada,” reprinted in Lori G. Beaman, ed., Religion and Canadian Society (2006).

Over the years my research has mostly been in the general area of Religion in Canada, with a special emphasis on the religious implications of Canadian fiction. The focus has been largely contemporary, with special attention to the religious implications of so-called “secular” culture. Some of the specific projects outlined below provide an indication of how that research focus has been manifest.

Religious Diversity in Kingston

From roughly 2003 to 2010 my research project was “Religious Diversity in Kingston,” supported by a SSHRC Standard Research Grant and employing more than a dozen Research Assistants. The fruit of that project is a book, more than 500 pages in typescript, God’s Plenty, currently under review for publication. This book represents a unique attempt to map the religious landscape of an entire city early in the twenty-first century. Through the employment of a kind of “backyard anthropology,” utilizing site visits and more than one hundred interviews, the effort here is to chart the current state of religion in a mid-sized Canadian city. The book engages such diverse fields as history, ethnography, the sociology of religion, literature, aboriginal studies, interfaith dialogue, religion and public life, and the phenomenology of religion.

Religion and Literature

Much of my teaching and research has made use of literary materials, especially fiction, with a view to understanding the religious dimensions of Canadian novels—not just in fiction’s handling of explicitly religious materials, but in the totality of its worldview—and how, in turn, religion is shaped through fiction. This is the intersection of the religious meaning of literature and the literary meaning of religion. In the larger scheme of things religion as a product of human creativity and the search for meaning connects with the imagination in many of its projective manifestations, including the worlds of art and culture. My Locations of the Sacred (1998) offers ten essays exploring these methodological implications as well as offering some specific examples and detailed interpretations of the texts embodying this kind of approach.

Religion and the Secular

Novelist Douglas Coupland has a character in Life After God wonder into what cracks the religious impulse spills in lives that are “post-religious.” Accordingly, I have been interested in what might be termed secular correlates of religion—e.g., sports, politics, hobbies, and various groups. Sometimes such areas are viewed as forms of implicit religion. Along these lines my experience of living in Japan, where so much of life is centred in ritual, for extended periods of time over the past twenty years have made me question the western interpretation of religion as entailing belief in some form. In addition, because most Japanese follow two or more religions, I have become interested in various aspects of religious hybridity or eclecticism—the mixing and matching of different religions—in the West.

Richard Moon is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor. He holds degrees from Trent, Queen’s, and Oxford universities. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1984. He is the author of The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression (University of Toronto Press, 2000), Freedom of Conscience and Religion (Irwin Law, forthcoming 2014) editor of Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada (UBC Press, 2008) and a contributing editor to Canadian Constitutional Law (3 rd and 4th ed.) (Emond Montgomery Press, 2007 and 2010). In 2008 he wrote a report for the Canadian Human Rights Commission dealing with the legal regulation of hate speech on the Internet. In 2009 he was awarded the University of Windsor Alumni Teaching Award. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Mary-Lou Dietz Equity Award for contributions to the advancement of equity in the university and in the larger community.

Richard Moon’s research focuses on freedom of religion and freedom of expression. He is in the process of completing a book manuscript: Putting Faith in Hate: Religion as the Source and Subject of Hate Speech – which considers the intersection between religion and hate speech regulation.

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James T. Richardson (Collaborator)

University of Nevada, Reno
Professor, Department of Sociology

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Winnifred F. Sullivan (Co-investigator)

Indiana University Bloomington
Professor, Department Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Affiliate Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law

James T. Richardson earned bachelor’s and master’s in Sociology from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University (1968). He later earned a J.D. degree and is also a licensed attorney. He is Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies has taught at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1968. He directs the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, and teaches in the Sociology Department and the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Doctoral Program at the University. He also directs the Judicial Studies graduate degree program for trial judges offered by the University in conjunction with the National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges which are headquartered in the university campus.

Richardson has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited a dozen books including Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe (Kluwer, 2004) and more recently (with Stuart Wright) Saints under Siege: The Texas State Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (New York University, 2011), Legal Cases, New Religions, and Minority Faiths (with Francois Bellanger, Ashgate, 2014), and The Sociology of Shari’a (with Adam Possamai and Bryan Turner, Springer, 2014), along with over 300 articles and chapters, most on various aspects of new religious movements, including more recently focusing on social control of minority faiths by courts and parliaments. He also does research on the use of social and behavioral science in judicial systems, and teaches a seminar in the Judicial Studies program for trial judges.

My research interests in recent years have focused on the interface of religion and law, and studies of how religion and law influence each other. One major focus has been on law as a tool of social control, particularly of minority religions. Another has been how religious groups arise and develop as they interact with the society in which they occur.

I began my career many years ago studying new religions, just to see how they recruited members, how they were organized, and societal reactions to NRMs. This early focus made me aware of controversies surrounding New Religious Movements (NRMs), particularly those dealing with conversion and recruitment, which led me into the “cult/brainwashing” battles that have occurred over recent decades. I also found myself involved in how NRMs finance themselves and how they use their resources.

Both these research foci led me in the direction of the legal issues and the law, and contributed to my seeking a law degree later in life. I now spend my scholarly efforts integrating law and sociology, and seeking to understand the ways that the law impacts society including religious aspects of life. I focus my efforts on studies of various courts and legislatures or parliaments, and how those institutions relate to religious groups and religion in general. Some of this recent work was presented in my presidential address for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Oct. 2014, and published as “Managing religion and the judicialization of religious freedom,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 54(1): 1-19, 2015. I am also interested in Shari’a and how it is being developed and integrated into Western societies, and am pursuing research in that area with colleagues in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, (J.D., Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington ( Professor Sullivan studies the intersection of religion and law in the modern period, particularly the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law. She is the author of Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Harvard, 1994); The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2005), Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton, 2009), and A Ministry of Presence (Chicago 2014). She is also editor of After Secular Law (Stanford, 2011) (with Robert A. Yelle and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo), Varieties of Religious Esstablishment (Ashgate 2013) (with Lori Beaman) and Politics of Religious Freedom (Chicago 2015) (with Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Saba Mahmood and Peter Danchin).

Professor Sullivan serves on the editorial board of the Religion and Society series at deGruyter. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Professor Sullivan was a Guggenheim fellow and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; during the 2007-2008 academic year, she was the Lilly Foundation fellow at the National Humanities Center. She has also been a visiting fellow at the American Bar Foundation and at the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago.

I am interested in religion as a broad and complex social and cultural phenomenon that historically both generates law and is regulated by law. I have training in law and in religious studies and have taught both in law school and in religion departments. I hold both a J.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. I practiced law for six years after graduating from law school before returning to school to study religion. My training in the academic study of religion is in two fields, American religious history and the critical study of religion. My research interest is primarily in understanding the intersection of religion and law in the U.S. within a broader comparative context, both theoretically and cross-culturally. Within legal studies, my work falls broadly within socio-legal and critical legal studies.

I am the author of three books analyzing legal discourses about religion, mostly in the context of actions brought to enforce the religion clauses of the First Amendment and related legislation: Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Harvard 1994), The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton 2005), and Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton 2009). Each of these first three books treats an individual American law case about religion. Each offers a close reading of the texts of the trial using the resources of legal anthropology, socio-legal studies and the academic study of religion, with a view to displaying the multiple models of and discourses about religion there represented. My goal in each case was to situate and critique American law about religion, setting that law in the context of American religious and legal history, and the scholarship about them. I brought to these cases my experience and interest as a trial lawyer in the courtroom as well as my training as a scholar of religion. These books also participate in an evolving academic conversation about the nature of the trial.

My fourth book, Ministries of Presence, focuses on the legal regulation of chaplaincies in governmental and quasi-governmental settings and explores the ways in which partnerships between government and private organizations combine to create an understanding of the nature of the religious needs of people today. It argues that as religious authority has shifted from institutions to the individual a new kind of religious universalism is emerging in these private-public partnerships.