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Secularism on the Edge: The Church & the State in the United States, France & Israel

SFS Program for Jewish Civilization

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EST)

Washington, DC

Secularism on the Edge: The Church & the State in the...

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Event Details

Day One of the Program for Jewish Civilization's conference on secularism in the United States, France, and Israel. 

Refreshments will be available. RSVP requested. 

Co-sponsored by the BMW Center for German and European Studies, the Department of French, and the Department of Government.


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM               PUBLIC INTERVIEW I

                                                Jacques Berlinerblau and John Fea

                                                "America: A Christian Nation or a Secular Nation?"

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM               PUBLIC INTERVIEW II

                                                Sarah Fainberg, Jean Bauberot, and Henri Pena-Ruiz

                                                "French Laicite: What Does It Stand For?"


Jacques Berlinerblau is Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations. Professor Berlinerblau’s most recent book is How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom.

Dr. Fea is Associate Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah. He is the author or editor of three books, including The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America andWas America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction. Professor Fea’s essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. He blogs daily at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

Professor Fainberg is a sociologist and historian specializing in both Soviet Studies and Eastern European Jewish history, with a particular focus on how State politics shapes ethnic identities. She received her academic training in Paris, first at École Normale Superieure in Philosophy and later at Sciences Po in Political Science, where she received her PhD in 2008. Her latest project moves her into the post-Soviet space, and explores the promotion of new national narratives and remembrance patterns among ethnic minority groups in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Dr. Baubérot is a historian and sociologist of religion as well as the founder of the sociology of secularism. He holds a doctorate from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), where he founded the Groupe de Sociologie des Religions et de la Laïcité and is now Professor Emeritus of history and sociology of laïcité. Professor Baubérot has served in the cabinet of Ségolène Royal and as a member of the Stasi Commission. He was awarded Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur and is author of numerous books, including most recently Laïcité 1905-2005, entre passion et raison andLa laïcité expliquée à Monsieur Sarkozy.

Dr. Peña-Ruiz is a philosopher, writer, and politician. He is currently maître de conférences at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. Dr. Peña-Ruiz is an expert on laïcité and was a member of the Stasi Commission. His books include La Laïcité andQu’est-ce que l’école? in addition to several other philosophical works. He is a member of the conseil scientifique of the think tank Res Publica Foundation.

Have questions about Secularism on the Edge: The Church & the State in the United States, France & Israel? Contact SFS Program for Jewish Civilization

When & Where



Intercultural Center

Washington, DC 20057

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EST)


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