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At the Edges of Europe: Britain, Romania and European Identities

In their relationship to Europe, both Britain and Romania are situated at the continent’s edge, but that is where any list of comparisons between the two countries usually ends. Certainly, both countries are members of the European Union, but their respective responses to the European Union differ markedly. Polls conducted by Eurobarometer consistently put Romanians among the most enthusiastic supporters of the European Union, and the British (along with the Greeks) among the least. But what are the historical roots of Romanian and British attitudes towards Europe and the European idea?
27 July 2015
Prof. Martyn Rady More...

Starts: Jul 27, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Extremism disenchanted: what role can education play?

Young people in the UK today who are attracted to extremism are typically well educated. Given the weaknesses of this ideology in terms of its use of history, internal coherence of arguments and moral standards, its success with many educated young people requires explanation. The explanation, according to Dr. Farid, is multifaceted but education has a big role to play in curbing the trend.
2 June 2015
Dr. Farid Panjwani More...

Starts: Jun 2, 2015 12:00:00 AM

The case for an EU referendum

Christopher Bickerton, lecturer in Politics at the University of Cambridge, discusses how how the impending EU referendum in the UK necessitates open and unbiased academic debate, and how British discussions of EU reform may reverberate across the European continent.
15 May 2015
Dr. Christopher Bickerton More...

Starts: May 15, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Negotiating Religion: Workshop 4

Publication date: Oct 10, 2011 10:16 AM

Start: Jun 12, 2012 12:00 AM
End: Jun 12, 2012 12:00 AM

Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom
12 June 2012

Workshop 4: Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom

12 June 2012

followed by reception

Moot Court Room
UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens
London WC1H 0EG

Negotiating Religion 4


Registration is now open. Please check here for different ticket options.

Introduction: Inquiries into the History and Present of Religious Accommodation

In 2011-12, UCL organises a series of four workshops to discuss the complex processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given commonwealth, both in history and in our world today.

The focus is on communities' ability to formulate and present their claims, to identify potential spokespeople and their addressees, to secure their institutions and assert their physical and political presence, as well as on the epistemological, political and social conditions facilitating or complicating processes of negotiation. The workshops thus intend to focus on the agency of both sides in processes of negotiation, broadly understood as all societal and political interactions that not only concern a religious community but directly involve it.

The main objective is to stimulate a debate about the complex relationship between religion and society. Throughout their history, European commonwealths have been shaped by religious identity, community, and conflict. Constitutions and legal systems to this very day are deeply affected by religious traditions. Secularization has reduced religious tension within Western societies. However, these find their spiritual and cultural identity challenged by communities marked by stronger religious commitment, notably communities belonging to the world of Islam. Instead of reducing present day conflicts to essentialised notions of religious community, the workshops aim to explore the impact of religious legacies in European history and to contribute to a more precise understanding of the role of the multilayered processes of moderation and negotiation in the shaping of contemporary societies.

Workshop 4: Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom

This fourth and final workshop will examine the extent to which legal frameworks and judicial decisions allow a space for negotiating with religious demands.With a focus on education, the workshop will explore the tensions between human right requirements and the national compromises reached in relation to religion at school.

In a human rights era, European States are increasingly under pressure to have due regard to individual claims to religious manifestation at school. Simultaneously, States struggle to formulate a coherent approach to religion which is both faithful to their national traditions and constitutional national frameworks and respectful of the growing diversity in religious practices and attitudes towards religion within their societies.

The claim that any of these approaches to religion – whether embedded in national compromises or in human rights law – may be “neutral” will be assessed critically.
Through recent case law and legislation, the sessions will in turn consider issues surrounding religious symbols and clothing at school; religious education; religion and staff and religious schools.

Questions will include: Does this negotiation take place with religious communities or directly with the individuals who claim that their religious freedoms have been infringed? What are the main actors of the negotiating process? Who benefits from it? What are the risks of « negotiating »? Is « negotiation » the best way to reach a fair compromise between conflicting rights and claims? Is negotiating with religious freedoms any different to negotiation in respect of other human rights? What special features/dangers derive from the school context in which this negotiation takes place? What does teaching in a secular institution imply?


9.45 Welcome Address
Speaker Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL)
Professor Patrick Weil (CNRS / Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University)
  Professor Maleiha Malik (King’s College London)
Chair Professor Mark Hill QC (Cardiff Law School / 3 Pump Court Chambers)
Professor Cécile Laborde (UCL)
Refreshment Break
Speaker Professor Ian Leigh (Durham University)
Peter Cumper (Leicester University)
  Frank Cranmer (Cardiff Law School)
Chair Professor Eric Barendt (UCL)
13.20 Lunch
Speaker Professor Lucy Vickers (Oxford Brookes University)
Colm O’Cinneide (UCL)
  Dr Ronan McCrea (UCL)
 Chair  Dr Tobias Lock (Surrey University)
15.20 Refreshment break
Professor Julian Rivers (Bristol University)
Dr Julia Ipgrave (Warwick University)
  Dr Peter Petkoff (Brunel University)
Dr Javier Oliva (Manchester University)
 17:50 Closing Remarks
18:00 Reception. All welcome


Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL Laws)

For further information on the individual sessions or the series as a whole, please contact: Dr François Guesnet or Dr Uta Staiger.

Previous workshops

23 November 2011
Workshop 1: European Legacies, European Challenges This first workshop addressed the history of religious conflict and accommodation, and gauged the impact of religious skepticism and secularization in Europe.
More detail and programme HERE.

10 February 2012
Workshop 2: Accommodating Religious Communities in Contemporary Europe - Constitutional and Philosophical Dimensions

This workshop examined the character of the contemporary European state in its relation with religions and religious pluralism, and the general policies developed by states to address religious affairs.
Details and programme HERE.

7 March 2012
Workshop 3: Negotiating Religion in Urban Space

This workshop investigated the spatial incorporation of religious communities in the city both in the form of the material urban environment, for example in the presence of religious buildings and other faith spaces, and in  everyday urban cultures, practices and politics.
Details and programme HERE.

The series is coordinated by the European Institute and UCL's Research Initiative Religion and Society (supported by the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction).

Throughout, the organisers hope to engage UCL's community in a discussion about what London's global university could or should contribute to a reflection of these issues as a leading institution in research and in higher education, and as an academic community.