Professor Pascale Fournier to Deliver Keynote Address in New Brunswick

Professor Pascale Fournier, Research Chair in Legal Pluralism and Comparative Law, will have the pleasure of delivering a public keynote address at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC), in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Professor Fournier will speak as part of a two-day workshop entitled When Prayers are not Enough: Religion, Gender and Family Violence to be held on September 13th and 14th, 2016. The workshop aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to focus on issues arising at the intersection of religion, gender and family violence.

Professor Fournier’s presentation, Earthly States, Holy Matrimony: Response of Secular Governments to Family Violence and Religion, draws on her research on the topic of religious and civil divorce among Jewish and Muslim women in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Canada. The talk will aim to offer insight into the experiences of women going through religious and civil divorce and will assess different models of secularism through an in-depth discussion of concepts such as “laïcité”, “weak multiculturalism” and the “philosophy of integration”. Professor Fournier’s keynote address will be followed by a discussion and reception held at the University of New Brunswick’s Wu Conference Centre.

On the second day of the workshop, Professor Fournier will have the pleasure of attending the talks of two of her research assistants who will present academic papers, which she has coauthored. Victoria Snyers, a graduate student from the Université libre de Bruxelles and researcher for the Religion and Diversity Project under Professor Fournier’s supervision, will present a paper entitled Le statut juridique des femmes musulmanes d’Israël : statique ou dynamique (“The Legal Status of Israeli Muslim Women: Static or Dynamic”). Fatima Tajini, completing a Master of Law at the University of Ottawa and also researcher for the Religion and Diversity Project under Professor Fournier’s supervision, will present a paper entitled Le droit des femmes musulmanes à disposer de leur corps face à leur religion (“The Right of Muslim Women to Dispose of their Bodies in Relation to their Religion”) in which she discusses sexuality in Morocco, her country of origin.

Established in 1985, MMFC is an institution affiliated with the University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Arts and is one of seven recognized research centres across Canada focused on the issue of violence against women and children. MMFC undertakes activities which will broadly lead to the elimination of family violence. To this end, MMFC focuses on fostering practice and policy-relevant research on family violence and violence against women and children, disseminating research findings to various target groups in order to influence policy and practice, and developing and offering targeted educational programs.

Professor Fournier, Full Professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and author of more than forty academic publications, is recognized internationally for her significant contribution to the study of law and gender, especially in the context of religious divorce. She has previously lectured at, among many others, the Institute for Women’s Studies and Research in Teheran (Iran) and has served as an expert consultant for the United Nations Development Programme on issues of gender and Islamic law in Tunisia, Egypt, Malaysia and Nigeria.