Northwestern Events Calendar


The Border President: The "Muslim Ban,” National Security, and the Politics of Religion — A Talk by Beth Hurd

When: Monday, June 3, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, The Forum (Room 1-515), 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Co-Sponsor: Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Within one week of becoming president in January 2017, Donald Trump issued an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The order and a second iteration that followed were enjoined by the Federal Courts. In June 2018, however, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a third iteration of the ban, Proclamation No. 9645, which placed entry restrictions on the nationals of eight states whose systems for sharing information the president deemed inadequate.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that followed alleged that the primary purpose of the Proclamation was religious animus and that the President’s stated concerns about vetting protocols and national security were but pretexts for discriminating against Muslims. The latter argument did not prevail, however, and the ban stands. With the rise of anti-Muslim discourse at the highest levels of the American government, how could the Supreme Court find that Proclamation 9645 (the “Muslim ban”) is not about religion?

In this lecture, Beth Hurd will explore the understandings of religion, and its presumed separation from national security, that characterize current American legal and political discourse. Erin Delaney, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Faculty and Research at Northwestern's School of Law, will serve as a discussant.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is Professor of Politics and Religious Studies and serves on the faculty of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University. She co-directs the Global Politics & Religion Research Group, the Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad project, and Talking Religion: Publics, Politics and the Media. She is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations and Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion and co-editor of Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age and Politics of Religious Freedom. She will spend next year as a Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Fellow in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs.

Erin Delaney is Professor of Law with a courtesy appointment in political science at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on constitutional design and comparative constitutional law, with particular attention to the role of courts in multi-level governance systems. In 2014, she held the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Theory and Practice of Constitutionalism and Federalism at McGill University. She has also been a MacCormick Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh Law School and a Wiener-Anspach Visiting Research Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

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