Winter 2013

Regulating Religion


Click here to access the articles.

It’s with great pleasure that I start this New Year by adding two new articles to our e-journal. In a similar fashion than the articles published this summer, these two pieces propose to look at pressing questions around the regulation of religion by adopting refreshing and interdisciplinary outlooks.

These pieces are both based on analysis of Canadian legal decisions related to religious freedom. The first research paper by Louise Tardif documents the evolution of the Supreme Court of Canada’s understanding of religion in religious freedom cases over the past decades. The author argues, by looking more particularly into the Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem case, that the Court’s view of religion has been shifting from approaching it mainly as both a collective and individual practice and belief, to solely an individual and subjective pursuit. She then discusses the consequences of this shift for religious communities, and more broadly for the (im)possibility of achieving religious freedom in Canada.

In the second article, Dia Dabby, draws on a recent Canadian decision: Director and Family services v. D.M.P et al, [2010] MBQB 32 to propose that we adopt a new lens to analyze and unpack the web of relationships and competing claims that structure religious freedom cases in which children are involved. Building on the work of Jennifer Nedelsky, the author explores the limits of boundaries and bounded metaphors to grasp the complexities of relationships in religious freedom cases, and invites us to think of the human skin as an alternative spatial metaphor to better appreciate the nuances of these relationships.

Both these pieces continue to point to the multifaceted and complex relationships between religion, politics and law today. We invite graduate students from all disciplines to submit papers for review in French or English that explore different facets of these intimate relations. In the meantime, we hope that you will enjoy reading these new pieces and that they will stimulate your ongoing reflection on these relations.


Amélie Barras
January 9, 2013