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Abstract Deadline: May, 31st 2020 | Full Paper Deadline: February, 2021

Special Issue

Religious Education, Law and the Judiciary: National, International and Supranational Perspectives

This special issue of the British Journal of Religious Education focuses on the influence of national and supranational legislation and courts on religious education.  As Durham Jr (2013, 2) argues, religious education is ‘subject to some of modern society’s most fundamental constitutional and human rights norms’ since it ‘is so closely linked to the shaping of individual identity, character and conscientious beliefs’. In the UK, the various Acts of 1870, 1944 and 1988 have been central in the creation and reform of religious education – unlike any other curriculum subject, and more recently the arguments for including humanism in the subject have been bolstered by the Fox case (R (Fox 2015).  Around the world, in other countries, legislation and judicial judgements have impacted on what can be taught, such as the Scopes trial of 1925 in the US, prohibiting the teaching of evolution, the loi Ferry of 1882 in France, establishing the principle of laicité.

Moreover, in recent decades it has been claimed that decisive factors shaping and even scripting national education policies are global (Dale and Robertson 2009). Religious education is not immune to effects of these supranational factors (Osmer and Schweitzer 2003; Bråten 2013; Matemba 2011). The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) are decisive supranational texts for religious education, which guarantee the freedom of religion and the right to education in conformity with the parents' religious convictions.

Furthermore, in recent years issues related to religion and education have reached national and supranational courts (e.g. UNHRC; 2004; ECtHR 2007a, 2007b, 2010, 2014). These rulings not only prompted policy debate and changes in respective countries, but also stirred and informed domestic and academic debate over religious education more widely. For example, in the UK, Commission on Religious Education 'reluctantly' recommended retaining the opt-out clause on the grounds that it is 'protected' by the ECHR and that 'so many of the challenges which have been brought [before the European Court of Human Rights] have been successful' (Commission on Religious Education 2018, 63-7).

This special issue calls for papers focusing on:

  • the influence of national and supranational legislation and courts on issues related to religion and education, such as: the opt-out clause, religious education policy and content, the place of religious dress or symbols in schools, faith schools.
  • Research which focuses on direct influence of national, international and supranational legislation and courts such as policy changes and continuities; or their effectiveness in initiating and sustaining change
  • Also, research which focuses on indirect effects of national and supranational legislation and courts, such as their influence on domestic, public and academic debate and the culture of expectations in the area of religion in education
  • Studies from UK, Europe and also Asia, Africa, Austria and the Americas are relevant to this special issue, as are comparative studies across and between countries.

This call for papers invites contributors from scholars and researchers and policymakers from a range of disciplinary perspectives working within and beyond religious education, where religious education and issues related to religion in education intersects national, international and supranational legislation and courts. Theoretical and empirical contributions are welcomed.

Editorial Team

Nigel Fancourt, University of Oxford, UK [email protected]

Abdurrahman Hendek , Sakarya University, Turkey. Email [email protected]

Submission Timeline

  • Submission of abstracts (paper proposals): May 2020
  • Announcement of accepted abstracts: July 2020
  • Full paper deadline : February 2021
  • Feedback from editors on full papers: May 2021
  • Deadline to receive revised papers from authors: September 2021
  • Anticipated publication in BJRE (online) : February 2022

Submission Guidelines

Name and Contacts

Full name, title and affiliation of the first author and up to three additional authors or contributors, along with a complete mailing address, contact information and primary discipline/area of work for each

Title of proposed chapter

Please indicate the title of your paper.

Proposal Content

Proposals should explain the paper’s objectives or purpose and ensure that it falls within the call of the paper. Proposals should describe the paper’s conceptual perspectives or theoretical framework, research methods/modes of inquiry (including data sources, evidence and materials), and at least an outline of the paper’s results and/or substantiated conclusions or warrants for arguments/point of view (i.e. main argument). Finally, proposals should present the scholarly significance of the paper.

Proposal should be no longer than 500 words.

Full papers should not be more than 6,000 words.

Send proposals to Dr. Nigel Fancourt, copying in Dr. Abdurrahman Hendek.

For format, style and referencing, please visit the Instructions for Authors page for detailed information. 

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