Is the French State Really ‘Secular’? Some Reflections on Municipal Laïcité

How is laïcité – official state secularism - practiced in contemporary France? In this post, the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalisation’s Dr. Julia Martínez-Ariño discusses recent research in the cities of Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse to suggest that laïcité takes many forms in French municipalities – including the recognition and support of ‘religious’ actors …

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Saints of the Shaking Earth

We start the new year with a post by Alanna Cant. Drawing on recent fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico, Cant explores church-state relations through the lens of church restoration, religious 'heritage', and popular devotion to the saints.  In September, two large and seismically unusual earthquakes struck Mexico. On the 7th of September, the strongest quake the country …

The ‘religion or secularism’ debate on women’s equality obscures the real problem: patriarchy

  Is ‘religion’ patriarchal, antithetical to gender equality? This was a question posed last night during the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain #IWD2017 panel discussion on ‘Gender and Sexual Equality in a Post-Truth Age’. On International Women’s Day 2017, Erin K. Wilson explores this question, arguing that actually, this is the wrong …

The secular dead body: feeling awkward about organ donorship

Organ donorship is a sensitive and at times controversial topic in numerous political contexts. In today's post, Ton Groeneweg picks up recent failed efforts to introduce Active Donor Registration in The Netherlands to explore the relationship between these debates and evolving dynamics around religion and secularism. Recently another attempt to introduce the legal principle of ‘Active …

It’s not all about Islam: misreading secular politics in the Middle East

Western policymakers once understood the dynamics of secular politics in the Middle East, but this knowledge has been subsumed under a fixation on Islam’s supposed threat to western security interests, writes today´s guest contributor Dr Stacey Gutkowski. Much western, particularly French, media coverage of the January attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and the kosher …