Participants in the present project at the conference organized by Pascale Fournier and Valérie Amiraux at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Spain.
Over the last two decades, the Islamic headscarf has become a sensitive issue in Europe and North America, giving rise to legal disputes and political controversies in Western polities. Several states are now actively intervening to regulate Muslim women’s liberty to wear the nikab or the burka, full veils covering the face and the body. Despite the fact that the actual number of women wearing the nikab/burka is quite low, public reactions opposing and defending the “right” to the veil tend to be vigorous and passionate. The recent debates around bans of the burka in France (October 2010) and in Belgium (December 2010) illustrate perfectly that phenomenon and invite us to pay more attention to majority‐minority interactions and to discern the constitutive effect of the various discourses involved. For instance, do the binary discourses at play unduly portray the “Muslim minority” as a unified body with convergent interests? Does this preclude a contextual, dynamic conception of power relations between various groups and sub-groups that cut across the “Muslim” category? This project attempts to shed light on how legal discourse produces knowledge and shapes what it means to be a Muslim woman in the West.
On May 17 and 18 2012, Pascale Fournier co-hosted an international workshop on the legal regulation of the Islamic veil at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Spain. The conference, entitled “‘Illegal’ Covering: Comparative Perspectives on Legal and Social Discourses on Religious Diversity”, was co-organized with Valérie Amiraux, Professor of Sociology at the Université de Montréal and Canada Research Chair for the study of religious pluralism and ethnicity. The conference featured top-ranking socio-legal scholars from Belgium, Canada, France, Spain, the UK and the United States. Many contributions were published in 2013 in a special issue of Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture (2013, volume 19, issue 6), co-edited by Prof. Fournier and Valérie Amiraux.
Publications pertaining to this project:
Fournier, Pascale, “Headscarf and Burqa Controversies at the Crossroad of Politics, Society and Law”, Introduction to the Special Issue (Co-editor with Valérie Amiraux), (2013) 19(6) Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 689-704
Fournier, Pascale & See, Erica, “The ‘Naked Face’ of Secular Exclusion: Bill-94 and the Privatization of Belief”, (2012) 30(1) Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, 63-76
Fournier, Pascale, “La laïcité au féminin : guerre de genre(s) ?”, in Sébastien Lévesque, ed., Penser la laïcité québécoise (Québec : Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014), forthcoming
Fournier, Pascale & See, Erica, “The ‘Naked Face’ of Secular Exclusion: Bill-94 and the Privatization of Belief”, in Solange Lefebvre and Lori Beaman (eds), Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2014), forthcoming (partial reprint)
Fournier, Pascale & Jacques, Emmanuelle, “Voiles/Voiler”, in Emmanuelle Bribosia & Isabelle Rorive, eds. L’accommodement raisonnable de la religion en Belgique et au Canada (Les éditions Peter Lang: New York, 2014), forthcoming
Law Foundation of Ontario ($9530)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – Religion and Diversity Project (MCRI) ($4500)