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Secularism, Islam, and Democracy: Constitutional Tensions and Accommodations
Secularism, Islam, and Democracy: Constitutional Tensions and Accommodations      Panel I: Secularism, Religion

Mirjam Kuenkler, Princeton University Arash Naraghi, Moravian University Samer Shehata, Georgetown University Boston College Chair: Jonathan Laurence This panel will explore existing models of secular or quasi-secular governance in the MENA region and elsewhere. French-style laicite, European nominal establishment but public secularism, and American-style free expression without establishment appear in varied ways in the region. While most countries in the region have separated mosque from state formally, can the resulting arrangements be deemed secular? What are the challenges and possibilities for secular governance given popular religious commitments? Alternatively, what are the challenges and possibilities for governance that carves out a public role for religion while forbidding its establishment?

Lunch Keynote: Robert Hefner, Boston University

Panel II: Democracy Eva Bellin, Brandeis University Amaney Jamal, Princeton University Gunes Murat Tezcur, Loyola University Boston College Chair: Kent Greenfield This panel will consider the substantive and procedural obstacles to democracy, particularly in light of current anxieties—whether warranted or not—over electoral outcomes in which Islamist- or military-backed groups could subvert the democratization process after a victory at the polls. Does democratization require minimum commitments to liberal values beyond fair elections and guarantees of popular sovereignty?

Panel III: Constitutional Tensions and Accommodations Asli Bali, University of California, Los Angeles Nathan Brown, George Washington University Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University Boston College Chair: Vlad Perju This panel will attempt to bring the previous two sessions together. Drawing on the very different experiences in recent years of constitution-making in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the ongoing attempt at constitutional reform in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and elsewhere, the panel will identify constitutional requisites and limitations in promoting democratic governance in MENA states.

Date and Time:
    Friday, October 14, 2011 | 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.   
Heights Room, Corcoran Commons
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Of Interest to Particular Audience:
    Faculty, Graduate Students, Public, Undergraduate Students
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Sponsored by:
    Clough Center for the Study of International Democracy. Co-sponsored by BC Law School, Program in Islamic Civilizations and Societies, and International Studies, Political Science Department
    Clough Center
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Admission fee:
    Free. RSVP required to
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