Our Research

Contesting Authorities over Body Politics: The Religious/Secular Tension in Germany, Israel, and Turkey


This research is concerned with how conflicts between religion and secularity (i.e., secular and religious discourses, norms, actors, and institutions) are shaped differently in differing socio-legal contexts in the Middle East and Europe. Specifically, we will examine the way religion and secularity shape disputes and are shaped by disputes over “body politics,” that is, the laws governing what is permissible to do to the body and who has the authority to decide. Our study focuses on Germany, Israel, and Turkey. All three countries are allegedly secular states with monotheistic religious traditions, but each has its own understanding of the relationship between secularity, religion, and state law. Specifically, the proposed research will focus on current legal controversies that have erupted around the practice of male circumcision, posthumous organ donation, and abortion in Israel, Germany, and Turkey.


Grant funding agency: German-Israeli Foundation (GIF)


Participants of "Contested Authorities over the Body: The State, the Secular, and the Religious" Workshop at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, October 2017