Comparative Secularisms

Conceptions and Practices of Religious Liberty in the Public Sphere; Towards a Common Lexicon

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event
Princeton University Community: Faculty, Fellows, Students, Staff

How do different constitutional and political systems manage religious diversity? Given shifting patterns of personal and group piety, does the concept of secularism have meaning across space and time? Are certain constitutional and political traditions better or worse at accommodating religious believers and treating fairly majority and minority faiths? How have different states and political arrangements coped with religions and religious traditions that challenge liberal or secular principles?

The scholars who gather for this conference will confront these questions in a historical context and examine different approaches pursued in the United States, in Muslim-majority contexts, and in Christian heritage societies.



Stephen Macedo and Alan Patten (Princeton University)
Giancarlo Bosetti (Chairman, Reset: Dialogues on Civilizations) and Jonathan Laurence (Boston College and Reset)

Also Featuring:

Michael Walzer (Institute for Advanced Study), Cécile Laborde (Oxford University), Jose Casanova (Georgetown University), Madhav Khosla (Harvard University), Nelson Tebbe (Cornell University), Ayelet Shachar (University of Toronto), Elizabeth Sepper (Washington University in St. Louis), Amaney Jamal (Princeton University), Jan-Werner Müller (Princeton University), Andrew March (Harvard University), Asma Afsaruddin (Indiana University), Mohsen Khadivar (Duke University), Chiara Galbersanini (Reset: Dialogues on Civilizations), Joseph Chan (University of Hong Kong), Muhammed Zaman (Princeton University), Rahul Sagar (New York University, Abu Dhabi)

For up-to-date schedule and papers, visit the conference website:

Attendance of the Friday workshop is open to all Princeton faculty, students, academic visitors, and other university affiliates: RSVP HERE is requested, though not required.



Thursday, April 4th:  Cécile Laborde, James A. Moffett ’29 Lecture on Ethics

Presented by the University Center for Human Values

Computer Science, Lecture Hall 104

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM (with reception to follow)

*Please note that this lecture is organized by the University Center for Human Values and is not an official part of this conference. However, Cécile Laborde is a participant in the conference and her lecture topic is relevant to our discussion, so participants are very strongly encouraged to attend.*


Friday, April 5th: Comparative Secularisms Workshop

Corwin Hall, Room 127

Four panel discussions based on short memos written by participants.

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM : Welcome

9:15 AM – 10:45 AM : Session I

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM : Session II

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM : Lunch and Discussion of Intercultural Lexicon

1:45 PM – 3:15 PM : Session III

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM : Session IV

Co Sponsor(s): 
Presented by the Program on Law and Public Affairs, with thanks to Donald S. Bernstein '75, the Department of Politics, and the Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, in partnership with Reset: Dialogues on Civilizations (Milan, Italy)