Living together in tomorrow's world: French secularism beyond borders

International colloquium: Living together in tomorrow's world: French secularism beyond borders- En français (le matin) / and in English (afternoon)

The event is in person on the WUSTL Campus in the Women's Building.  To view online for free, preregister via ZOOM at the bottom of the page. 


In recent years, a new concept has emerged in France, called "le vivre ensemble" ( living together ), whose use seems to compensate for the difficulties of secularism ("la laïcité") to federate the different components of French society. The originality of our one-day conference consists in questioning the concept of "laïcité/ secularism" in a global perspective: how is this notion understood in international law; how is the governance of religions structured in the colonial and post-colonial space; how is this notion represented, or reconfigured, in the artistic domain? Our objective is to contribute to the interpretation of a concept  that is often misunderstood outside of France, but also to question the legal and political relevance of "laïcité" outside of the French context.
Schedule of the day:

In person /  on campus: Women's building formal lounge (all day)


8:30: Welcome : café et croissants

9:00: Conference Presentation: John Bowen, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology
Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences.

Special Guest: Jean Baubérot, Honorary President of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) and Professor Emeritus, Chair of "History and Sociology of Secularism".
"The mutations of secularism in France"

10:00 Comparative readings of "living together". Panel moderated by John Bowen.

Philippe Marlière, Professor of French Studies and European Political Science / University College London.
"Secularism, a legal principle and an essentially contested concept."

10:20 Anne Fornerod, Director of Research at CNRS, Rights and Religions (CNRS / University of Strasbourg).
"The links between secularism and living together in French law"

10:40 : Break (café/croissants)

11: 00 Marième N'Diaye, Research Fellow at CNRS, LAM/Sciences Po Bordeaux.
"Secularism in the land of Islam: the Senegalese example

11: 30 Jan Willem Duyvendak: Director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (NIAS-KNAW) and Emeritus Research Professor in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
"In what ways is living together addressed in the Netherlands today? Another example of the rise of nativism".
Lunch break: 12:00 PM

1:00 PM "Secularism: a tool to prevent radicalization?"
Round-table discussion with Dorra Mameri Chaambi, PhD in History and Political Science, attached to the Societies, Religions, Secularities Group;  
in conversation with Vincent Jouane, Senior Lecturer in French Studies, Washington University in St. Louis) and our students at Washington University (FREN 307).
2: 15 PM International Law, Secularism and Religious Freedom in Europe.
Round-Table (in English) moderated by Leila Nadya Sadat, James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law; Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the ICC Prosecutor.

Lech Garlicki, Professor, Washington University School of Law & former Judge, European Court of Human Rights & Constitutional Court of Poland

Milena Sterio, Charles R. Emrick Jr.-Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law, Cleveland Marshall School of Law

3:30-3: 45 Break.

3:45: The Governance of Religions in Colonial and Postcolonial Space.

Todd Shepard, Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor, John Hopkins University
"What Algerian independence reveals about the secularism of the "trente glorieuses".

4:00: Christophe Bertossi, Senior Research Fellow and Director of Ifri's Center for Migration and Citizenship
"Nativism, 'living together' and union values in France."

Directeur scientifique : John Bowen / Leila Sadat

Organisateur: Lionel Cuillé

Student organizers: Dommii DeMichele / Sai Vuda This project has been funded with support from the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in the US. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Embassy of France cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Questions, contact Lionel Cuillé at :


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