Professor Berlinerblau once again at University of Ottawa!

On Thursday, March 29, 2018, the Research Chair in Legal Pluralism and Comparative Law has the privilege of hosting Jacques Berlinerblau, Professor at the prestigious Georgetown University, Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization, and Chairman of the Jewish Civilization Rabbi Harold White. Professor Berlinerblau writes and publishes on a variety of topics, including the structure of the Hebrew Bible, the sociology of heresy, the relations between African Americans and American Jews, and secularism in multicultural societies. Professor Berlinerblau has collaborated with Professor Fournier, which led to the publication of an article entitled “Reframing Secularist Premises: Divorce Among Traditionalist Muslim and Jewish Women within the Secular State”. This article discusses the theories of secularism, which are rooted in the contemporary studies of post-Foucaldien and in the experiences of religious women in secular states. The article will appear in the journal Secularism and Nonreligion, in 2018. It is also worth noting that Professor Berlinerblau participated in 2015 in the Radical readings organized by Professor Fournier at the University of Ottawa and that he co-presented with Professor Fournier their research findings at the Faculty of Law of McGill University on June 21, 2016, as part of the Annual Law and Religion Roundtable. Professor Fournier first met Professor Berlinerblau at a lecture she gave at Georgetown University during the international symposium Secularism on the Edge: The Church and the State in the United States, France & Israel, which was inspired by the publication of her article “Secular Portraits and Religious Shadows: An Empirical Study of Religious Women in France” in the book by Jacques Berlinerblau entitled Secularism on the Edge.

campus-jacques-berlineblauThis time, Professor Berlinerblau will be coming to discuss his recent book – Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Does not, for Professors, Parents and Students, published by Melville House – a book that has received immense publicity in the United States. In this book, Berlinerblau takes an incisive and critical look at the operational and logistical side of universities in modern times, the dynamics and power relations at work in the academic world and the impact that this distribution of power has on the quality of the education received by students enrolled in elite universities. A controversial book that leaves no reader indifferent and raises many questions about the university model. As part of the « Cycles de conférences sur la recherche en droit », Professor Berlinerblau will present his book in a lecture titled “L’érosion du professorat américain: est-ce que le Canada devrait s’inquiéter?” and will discuss the Canadian academic context with respect to the thesis of his book. This presentation, followed by a panel discussion, will take place on March 29, 2018 at 11:30 am at the University of Ottawa.

During Professor Berlinerblau’s visit to Ottawa, Professor Fournier also invited her guest to meet with her students that same day as part of her Rights and Freedoms course. The course of March 29, 2018 will examine the issues of secularism in Quebec, and more importantly on the state of social debate initiated by the introduction of the Bill of Values Act and the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, as well as recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in Mouvement laïque québécois v Saguenay (City) and Loyola High School v Québec (Attorney General).

The latter dealt respectively with the constitutionality of religious prayer at the Saguenay City Council and the constitutionality of the refusal to exempt a denominational school from the course on ethics and secular religion with a course on the Catholic religion. Professor Berlinerblau, who is interested in issues of secularism, will discuss the failure of the secular model in the United States in the wake of the election of President Trump, whose core constituency is made up of evangelical voters. Jacques Berlinerblau will thus explore the close ties between Christian evangelicals and the American president and defend the idea that part of this fascination finds its origins in Luther’s writings.

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