Geopolitics of Transnational Law and Religion – Workshop

A few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama announced the “end of history”. The ideas of liberal democracy would take center stage: human rights would become a cornerstone of the international political order, as would capitalism. A real sense of close of history was spreading. But, as Robert Kaplan has pointed out, unfortunately this “was an era of illusions”. What we are now witnessing in many parts of the world (including in the West) is a return of identitarian politics and many challenges to liberal constitutionalism. Law and its interpretation are now being shaped not by positivistic assumptions and doctrines, but increasingly by the “material” forces of history and politics. Religious groups – and often forgotten religious laws – are playing a central role in this effort, shaping the new legal and political imagination. They are at the core of a global trend of culture wars which are reshaping our understanding of law, politics and culture. The aim of this event is to contextualize current events within the global scenario of culture wars through the frame of legal narrative and geopolitical imagery, in which religious factors and variables play a significant role. Legal orders and conscience-related conflicts are therefore understood in the context of a constantly shifting and fragmenting international legal regime.

The initiative is part of the renovated effort of the Centre for Religious Studies of the FBK to advance a critical understanding of the multi-faceted relationship between religion, politics, law and innovation in contemporary society and part of the research line on religion and conflicts. The research on conflict is one of the four research areas of the Centre, among the others are: values, science and technology; spirituality and life styles; text, doctrines and traditions. Conflicts represent one of the key research lines of the centre and are understood as a key feature of contemporary religion and the main reason why the public opinion, the media, and scholars take an interest in the phenomenology of religion. Our research stems from the assumption that both isolating religion as a factor in conflict descriptions and downplaying the significance of religious motives are inadequate. Recent researches could offer a good starting point to elucidate the wider relationships between geopolitics, religion, law and social sciences and the reshaping of the global political (and legal) order.


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