Politics of Religious Freedom Research Project Website Now Available via BCSR


The Politics of Religious Freedom (PRF) website is a resource for scholars, students, and practitioners across disciplines interested in research and pedagogy at the intersection of religion, law, and politics. The PRF project was established in 2010 to study the legal and political contestation surrounding religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and South Asia. The project explored different understandings of religious freedom in an attempt to de-center conceptualizations that have long dominated the discussion in North American and international policy circles. It discerned and engaged with a broader and more diverse field of practices than conventionally designated and defended under the rubric of “religious freedom” in most mainstream debates. By making these alternatives available, the project has provided new templates for thinking about the question of religious freedom in relation to the politics of human rights, conflict resolution, the role of law, government policy, and the politics of religious difference, both within and among religious communities. This interdisciplinary and cross-cultural work is designed to inform contemporary academic and policy debates, international human rights circles, and local civil society organizations involved in these issues.

The website, which will be housed at Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Religion, will also feature a webpage that will make available in open source format teaching materials on the politics of religious freedom generally, as well as on specific case studies developed by the project team in collaboration with experts on those cases, intended for easy adoption by instructors anywhere.

Funded by the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs, Politics of Religious Freedom brings together academics, human rights and civic society organizations, and jurists and policy makers who have helped to reshape the debate on religious freedom in the United States, the European Union, India, Egypt, and South Africa. The project was developed by Professors Saba Mahmood (UC Berkeley), Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Northwestern University), Winnifred Sullivan (Indiana University), and Peter Danchin (University of Maryland Law).