Alumni College Fellow
"American Religious Neutralism, French Secular Republicanism and Islamic Veils: Freedom of Religion versus Freedom from Religion?"
One of the most contentious matters of public concern in contemporary Western Europe and the United States is the Muslim 'veil.' The wearing of Muslim veils in public schools, courts, the workplace, beaches and other public places has led to legal controversies involving freedom of expression, the free exercise of religion, civil rights, and equal protection of the law in both countries. This presentation analyzes sameness and difference in French and American conceptualization of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and employment discrimination, within the framework of the functionally equivalent 'declarations of difference' of both countries: American exceptionalism and l'Exception française (the French exception) respectively.
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