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Workshop 26 -28 May 2011

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WORKSHOP ON: “Comparative Sociolegal Processes of Secularization: Political Variations on the Theme of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age” 26 – 28 May 2011 Coordinators: David Mednicoff (USA) and Shylashri Shankar (India) Workshop Summary From Thursday, May 26 through Saturday, May 28, a group of scholars based in Asia, Europe and North America met to develop a common analytical approach to the comparative analysis of secularism, law and politics in global perspective. The workshop was conceived as a follow-up to two earlier small workshops on secularism, law and politics. The Onati meeting used Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age” as a jumping off point to consider whether and how secularity has become integrated into legal and political institutions in a wide range of cases outside the scope of Taylor’s North Atlantic focus. Cases included China, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Turkey. Participants were both authors of papers and several prominent commentator/discussants. The workshop format included summaries and suggestions for each paper by a discussant, followed by a brief response by that paper’s author and a general discussion. Each full day of the workshop concluded with a general comparative discussion to connect themes throughout the day. The final session on 5/28 featured the conclusions of each participant regarding moving our shared work forward. An editorial team consisting of the co-directors and two other group members anticipates a speedy process collecting the papers into an integrated and useful edited volume. Thanks to the IISJ and Princeton University, which supported travel and other costs not covered by the IISJ, the participants agreed that Onati was a perfect setting for our combined work. A tour of the town and a dinner trip to Arantzazu complemented the dining and leisure activities in the IISJ residence and town to make for a most pleasant experience for all. Indeed, the members of the workshop agreed to begin a new intellectual project to allow for ongoing meetings of this convivial group.
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NADER HASHEMI   University of Denver   Denver, CO   31/5/2011  
Dear Malen: thank you for wonderful hospitality. Onati and IISL has made a huge impression on me. It was a pleasure to spend a few days at your institute and your beautiful little town. Regards, Nader Hashemi
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MARK FARHA   Georgetown   Doha, Qatar   30/5/2011 
Dear Malen, Thank you and the ISSJ for your warm hospitality and for hosting us at your delightful institute. Picturesque Onati provided just the right academic and historical atmosphere for our extraordinarily cosmopolitan group from all four corners of the globe. Eskerrik Asco!
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MIRJAM KÜNKLER   Princeton University   Princeton   30/5/2011 
Thank you to IISJ and in particular Malen for the perfect organization. I cannot think of a better venue to convene a workshop. Thanks to the meticulous preparation on part of the IISJ, we were able to hold an intensive and very rewarding workshop whose results can hopefully be read about in the not so distant future.
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