Call for Panels: Comparative Law, Faith and Religion: The Role of Faith in Law

October 26-28, 2017
American University Washington College of Law
Washington D.C.

The American Society of Comparative Law and American University College of Law invites all interested scholars to consider submitting a panel proposal for the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law that will be held between Thursday, October 26, and Saturday, October 28, 2017, at American University Washington College of Law, Washington D.C.  entitled Comparative law, Faith and Religion:  The Role of Faith in Law.

This conference was in large part inspired by the work of the late Patrick Glenn on legal traditions.  Professor Glenn bravely undertook to “compare the world” with his emphasis on legal “traditions” and by extending the scope of comparative law beyond what most comparative scholars are comfortable with.  Glenn looked beyond the civil and common law legal traditions to the Chthonic, the near eastern Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, and to the Confucian and Hindu traditions that challenge our basic assumptions about the rule of law.

The conference organizers have distinguished between faith and religion. The term “faith” is defined as having “complete trust and confidence”, while the term religion is traditionally used to include the doctrine and institutions.  Of course, it is possible to have faith in God or a religion but it is also possible to have faith in a secular text such as the U.S. Constitution or a civil code, and this faith may be of such fervor that it could be called a secular religion.

Examples of diverse topics that such a conference could address are:  (1) historical or modern day attitudes that result in having faith in a legal tradition or developing religious attitudes towards secular texts such as the U.S. constitution; (2) a comparison of secular faith with religious faith in a legal system, perhaps looking at the history and development of western democracies; (3) the role of Christianity in development of common and/or civil law traditions; (4) comparative approaches to legal ethics and the influence of religion on development and implementation of ethical rules for lawyers and judges; (5) Islamic visions of dispute settlement and the role of Islamic law in modern day commercial arbitration; (6) the role of Catholicism in development of family law in Latin America; (7) Laws of the nation’s secular authority as faithless law;  (8) the continuing influence of Hindu “law”; (9) whether there is such a thing as Buddhist law?; (10) the influence of the Talmud on modern western legal systems or (11) the challenge of teaching about religion in a law school setting; etc.  Interdisciplinary work is encouraged.

The Annual Meeting of the ASCL will have two time slots for concurrent panels on Friday, October 27, 2017. One of these time slots will include panels organized around a common theme, while the other time slot will include panels arranged by region that may include more than one theme on comparative law, faith, and religion. We will consider all panel proposals but for the regional panels we especially encourage submissions focused on Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, and any other region or subregion that includes developing countries.

The Annual Meeting Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law will select the panels that will be held at the meeting in consultation with American University Washington College of Law. Panel proposals should include up to four speakers, a panel title, and a one-to-two-paragraph description of the ideas that the panel will explore. Panel proposals should be submitted via e-mail to Tra Pham at tpham@wcl.american.edu of American University Washington College of Law no later than June 1, 2017, and copied to Máximo Langer from the American Society of Comparative law at langer@law.ucla.edu.

Any questions about the panel proposals should be addressed to Máximo Langer and copied to Fernanda Nicola (fnicola@wcl.american.edu) and Padideh Alai (palai@wcl.american.edu)