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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ayelet Shachar at St. John's Law School, and Some Reflections on a New Kind of Seminar

The Center for Law and Religion is pleased to announce that Professor Ayelet Shachar (Toronto) will visit us at St. John’s Law School next Monday, April 16, at 4:15 pm.  Hers is the sixth and final session in our ongoing seminar, Colloquium in Law: Law and Religion.  Professor Shachar will discuss her ongoing work involving the legal status of religious tribunals as well as more general problems of religious pluralism.  Among the papers for consideration will be her thoughtful chapter on state, religion, and the family in this book.     

Academics in the New York area and beyond are welcome to attend.  Please let me know.

Because our seminar is now coming to a close, I wanted to share some scattered thoughts about it.  My colleague Mark Movsesian and I organized this law and religion seminar primarily as a way to expose students to some of the work that law and religion scholars are up to today.  The idea was to invite established scholars to submit works in progress or other new work ahead of time, together with a variety of supplementary materials to give the students a bit of background in the area up for discussion.  We and the students read this material and prepare together the week before the speaker arrives, trying to make sure we understand the arguments and chiseling at our questions.  When the speaker comes, he or she speaks for only a very short period, and the rest of the session is devoted to question and answer.  The students have priority in asking questions (faculty are invited to attend and participate), and they have acquitted themselves admirably in engaging with each of the presenters.  

The seminar was experimental -- Mark and I were not sure exactly how it would go.  In the end, we have both been extremely pleased with it.  I highly recommend this format for others thinking about this sort of course.  

Posted by Marc DeGirolami on April 11, 2012 at 08:23 AM | Permalink


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