Strasbourg Observers

Seminar Announcement: Law’s Imagining of Religion

September 02, 2014

The Strasbourg Observers are back from a summer break with an exciting announcement: the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University organizes a seminar entitled “Law’s Imagining of Religion: A Debate across Disciplines.” The seminar will bring together religion and legal scholars from Canada, Europe and the United States, including Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Cecile Laborde, Helge Arsheim, Malcolm Evans, Lori G. Beaman, Susanna Mancini, Solange Lefebvre, Mark Hill, Meadhbh McIvor and Lourdes Peroni.

WHEN: 23 September 2014

WHERE: Ghent University’s Faculty of Law, Voldersstraat 3, 9000 Ghent

WHAT: Speakers will address questions such as: Are the notions of religion underpinning the law inclusive enough to attend to today’s diversity of religious ways? If not, can and should these notions be legally “stretched” so as to become more responsive to such diversity? The morning sessions will focus on how law, including human rights law, understands and should understand religion. The afternoon sessions will focus on the ways in which the European Court of Human Rights conceives of and should conceive of religion. Scholars presenting in the afternoon will unpack the notions of religion underlying high-profile freedom of religion judgments (including S.A.S. Lautsi, Eweida and Bayatyan) and examine the extent to which these notions attend and should attend to applicants’ religious experiences.

A limited number of places are still available. Attendance is free, but registration is required. If you would like to attend this seminar please send an email to Lourdes Peroni at

This is the program:


Welcome and Introduction

Eva Brems (Ghent University)


Proving Religion: What Evidence is Relevant?

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (Indiana University Bloomington)


The Disaggregating Approach to the Study of Religion

Cécile Laborde (University College London)


Religion in the UN System

Helge Årsheim (University of Oslo)


The Forum Internum and the Forum Externum of Freedom of Religion in International Human Rights Law

Malcolm Evans (University of Bristol)


Religious Clothing in the European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law

– Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa)

– Susanna Mancini (University of Bologna/SAIS Johns Hopkins University BC)


Religious Objects in the European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law

– Meadhbh McIvor (London School of Economics)

– Lourdes Peroni (Ghent University)


Conscientious Objection in the European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law

– Solange Lefebvre (Université de Montréal)

– Mark Hill QC (Cardiff University)






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