Saturday, April 12, 2008

CFP: Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy

Via Will Roberts:

Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy
La société canadienne de philosophie continentale

Call for Papers

The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy will hold its annual conference on October 30 – November 1, 2008, at the University of Montreal, Quebec.

We invite papers or panels on any theme relevant to the broad concerns of continental philosophy. Please submit complete papers (no more than 4500 words) and a brief abstract (150 words). If you are submitting a panel proposal, send only a 750 word abstract for each paper. Please prepare your paper for blind review as an attachment in Word.

All submissions (in French or English) must be sent electronically by June 1, 2008, to:
Diane Enns, CSCP President, If you are a graduate student, please identify yourself as such in order to be eligible for the graduate student essay prize. The winner will be announced at the annual conference and considered for publication in the following spring issue of Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Habermas on shariah and overlapping jurisdictions

From The Chronicle:

Religious Intelligence reports that the acclaimed German philosopher Jürgen Habermas has spoken in support of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the subject of Shariah.

The archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, caused a stir in February when he said there might be room in Britain for “overlapping jurisdictions” between national law and Shariah, or Islamic law. He suggested that “individuals might choose in certain limited areas whether to seek justice under one system or another.” [...]

Writing this month in a German journal, in an article adapted from a March talk at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, Habermas, according to Religious Intelligence, “accepted the contention of secularists who insist on the ‘absolute essentialness of equal inclusion of all citizens in civil society.’”

“Religious citizens and religious communities should not only assimilate on the surface level. They must embrace the secular legitimisation of the community within the premises of their own belief,” he said.

“However, the state must make room for religious belief and avoid rushing to reduce the polyphonic complexity of the spectrum of public voices because it cannot be certain that this might not sever society from the meager resources that generate meaning and identity.”

Some material from the linked "Religious Intelligence" article:

Habermas also questioned the contention that modernisation presumed secularisation and necessarily lead to a diminished role for religion in the public sphere. Europe was entering a post-secular phase, and its loss of religious beliefs was the exception not the rule, he argued.

America was the “spearhead of modernization,” he noted, but "the vibrancy of American religious communities and the unchanging proportion of America's religious committed citizens" belied the theory of secularisation going hand in hand with modernity.

America “seems to exemplify the norm, while Western rationalism that was once supposed to serve as model for the rest of the world is actually the exception,” he said.

The task facing society was to find the proper balance between the claims of religion and culture against the democratic imperative, becoming aware “of the fact that the other is a member of an inclusive community of citizens of equal rights, in which equal citizenship and cultural difference complement each other."

Muslims in Europe "must not only superficially adjust to a constitutional order. They are expected to appropriate the secular legitimation of constitutional principles under the very premises of their own faith,” Habermas said.

However, secularists must also enter a complementary learning process, for if they continued to reject the people with a religious mindset, they were abandoning the mutual recognition that shared citizenship entails.

Secular citizens must remain open to the possibility that even religious utterances, when translated into a secular context, can have meaning for them. "As not everything can be achieved by political decision and legal enforcement,” Habermas concluded.

See also this post from political theorist Simone Chambers on Habermas' view of religion in the public sphere.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mexican federalism

Article 45 of the Mexican Constitution reads:

" The States and Territories of the Federation shall keep their present area and boundaries as of this day, provided no difficulties arise concerning them." [emphasis added]

If anyone happens to know anything about either the origins of this unusual verbiage, or any jurisprudence that has arisen on what constitutes a difficulty arising, please let me know.
Newly posted on SSRN

Montesquieu's Constitutional Legacies, forthcoming.
The only guide you'll ever need...

to campus architecture.
Call for workshop proposals:
“Balancing Federal Systems: Implications for Politics and Policy”

The International Political Science Association’s Research Committee 28
Comparative Federalism and Federation
is inviting contributions to its Annual Conference to be held on
Friday-Saturday, October 3-4, 2008

Hertie School of Governance
Berlin, Germany

Co-sponsor: Standing Group on Federalism and Regionalism,
European Consortium for Political Research

Host: Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

A defining characteristic of federal systems across the world is their exposure to constant shifts of power(s) between levels of government. Indeed, the balancing and rebalancing of power between levels of government and among constituent units is often the very purpose of federal government and, more generally, multilevel governance. Symmetries and asymmetries may result from underlying trends that transform the nature of federal systems over time as well as from conscious reform efforts. Horizontal and vertical power shifts affect politics as well as policies.

We are calling for contributions that speak to the balancing and rebalancing of federal systems in a comparative manner. Contributions may, for example, address institutional and constitutional questions pertaining to the territorial and non-territorial accommodation of diversity or the organization of state, local, and indigenous government. We also invite contributions that examine how shifts in the federal balance of power affect the way administrative challenges are solved and particular policy problems are addressed. We hope to discuss the themes outlined in four subsequent sessions under the following headings:

* Conceptual issues of federalism and multilevel governance
* Administrative challenges in multilevel governance arrangements
* Non-territorial accommodation of cultural, religious, and linguistic rifts
* Policy challenges and intergovernmental relations

The Conference, including both workshop panels on the two days and RC 28’s Business Meeting late Friday afternoon, will be hosted by the Hertie School of Governance located in the heart of Berlin between the Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz. The Conference will take place from 9:30 am on Friday until 3 pm on Saturday. A joint event is also planned on Friday evening, after the Business Meeting. Participants are expected to pay for their travel and lodging costs. Upon review of proposals and acceptance to the workshop, you will receive information regarding travel and lodging at reduced conference rates.

Proposals should be submitted by May 1st, 2008 to: Sonja Walti, American University and Hertie School of Governance, contact: tel. +1 202 885 3738,