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Current State: Published
Conference on Critical Approaches to Law and Religion

Tenth Anniversary workshop. In collaboration with the Christ College of Law.
When What
Starts on 30 August 2008 Tenth Anniversary workshop. In collaboration with the Christ College of Law.



Venue: Christ College of Law Christ University, Hosur Road, Bangalore, India, August 30, 2008

Law and religion studies in India, has been characterized by a multitude of disciplinary approaches. Historians, sociologists, political scientists and those from the field of religious studies and legal studies have made major contributions to this area of scholarship. The work in this area has ranged from a socio legal examination of the identity of religious communities such as Amrita Shodhan’s examination of the identity of the Khoja community to the historical examination of a South Indian temple by Arjun Appadurai. Legal scholars such as Rajeev Dhawan have thrown light on the principles of secularism and religious freedom.

However a key issue in this scholarship is that there has been little examination of the nature of law and religion as categories themselves. The confusion between the categories is demonstrated in the work of Duncan Derret where he expresses difficulties in making a distinction between legal and religious commands. This is further complicated by the use of the term dharma to refer to both law and religion. What are the implications for law and religion studies in India if law cannot be distinguished from religion and vice versa? How does one then develop critical approaches towards the study of social phenomena that involves the usage of both these categories?

This conference seeks to develop an agenda for the development of critical approaches to law and religion studies in India by unraveling the vocabulary behind the historical formation of law and religion as categories in India. As an inaugural conversation we would like to focus on the following themes:

·        Creation of Hindu and Islamic legal systems

What has been the role of the medieval and the colonial state in the creation of the Hindu and Islamic legal systems? What has been the interface between the two regimes? How have the dharmasastra and the shariah come into being? How has the dharmasastra evolved and what is the role of custom in its evolution? Similarly what is the role of custom within Muhammadan law? Who are the other authorities apart from the state which play a role in dispute resolution? 

 ·        The Governance of Religion

How has the state in its medieval, modern and colonial forms established governance over religion? What are the processes that have allowed for religious communities to be defined? What are the systems and structures governing religion and the forms of authority that allow for their establishment and existence? How may we understand the presence of competing authorities such as qazis, sufi saints and rulers in the control and regulation of everyday life? Finally, how have we inherited and used certain terminology such as secularism, toleration and religious freedom in the contemporary context?

For further information please contact Geetanjali at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society at 26562986 or Dattathreya at 9343836554




  Welcome and Introduction: 10:00 a.m. to 10.40 a.m.

Tea (10.40 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.) 

Session I: Creation of Islamic and Hindu legal systems

11.00 a.m.  to  11.45 p.m.

 Chair:  Upendra Baxi

Speakers : Nandini Bhattacharya –Panda

                 Geetanjali Srikantan 

 Discussion. 11:45 p.m. to 12:20 p.m.

 Lunch:  ( 12: 20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.)

 Session II: The Governance of Religion

 1:20 p.m. to 2 :00 p.m.

Chair:   Vivek Dhareshwar

Speakers: Imtiaz Ahmad                

   Dattathreya Subbanarasimha

Discussion:  2:00 p.m. to 2: 30 p.m.  

Tea:  2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

Roundtable:  2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Roundtable of Speakers and Respondents- Ashwin Kumar, Lakshmi Arya, Polly Hazarika, Upendra Baxi and Vivek Dhareshwar

Vote of Thanks:  4:15 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

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