Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston

(June 2010)


Governing Religion: International Law in a Secular Age

“The universal is never really as we imagine it: truly unconditional, context-transcending, and unmarked by particularity and politics,” Bonnie Honig wrote recently. Claims to secular universalism have been subject to similar critiques, yet their implications for international legal theory and practice vis-à-vis religion have yet to be determined. New conceptual frameworks are needed to grapple with how religion is implicated in the international rule of law. To set this process in motion is the objective of this project. It is part of an examination of the shift away from historically dominant global authority relations, characterized by a division of labor between the Church and temporal authorities, and toward the emergence of new global norms, laws, and practices for governing religion.