Accueil / Evénements / New Wars of Religion: Rethinking Contemporary Violence through the French Wars of Religion

New Wars of Religion: Rethinking Contemporary Violence through the French Wars of Religion

23 avr 2015 16:00 - 17:30

Princeton University
Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
10 Joseph Henry House
Princeton, New Jersey

Jeudi 23 avril : Rockefeller Classroom

Vendredi 24 avril : Chancellor Green 105


Intervention dans le cadre de la conférence interdisciplinaire Wars of Religion: Past & Present (23 et 24 avril), organisée par  Christophe Litwin, Mira Siegelberg et Jonny Thakkar.


This conference aims to interrogate the notion of “wars of religion” as a category within historiography and a concept within political philosophy.

The expression first appears in historiography at the start of the 18th century, when it is used to refer to the series of civil conflicts that had pitted Catholics against Protestants in many European countries during the 16th and 17th centuries. By extension it is often employed to characterize any civil war whose stakes are as much confessional as political. Two sets of questions are of particular interest to us: (1) What role does religion play in explaining the origin and character of the early-modern civil wars? To what extent can we really distinguish between wars of religion and other forms of civil war? (2) To what extent are we justified in extending this category to other geographical and historical contexts, such as the Sunni-Shiite conflicts of past and present? Does this have explanatory force or does it over-simplify to ideological effect?

The experience of the European wars played a decisive role in the development of political philosophy from Hobbes onwards. Philosophical reflection on the concept of wars of religion is therefore inseparable from the historiographical questions raised above. To what extent has the specifically religious dimension of civil conflict shaped the philosophical analysis of the modern state? And to what extent should it do so? We hope to facilitate a dialogue between historians of philosophy and normative theorists on these questions.



Jeudi 23 avril

9h15 - 10h45 : The French Wars of Religion

“Ending the French Wars of Religion.” – Allan Tulchin (Shippensburg U.) 
“On State Necessity: The Sphere of Government during the French Wars of Religion.” – Nicolas Le Roux (Université Lyon II)

Moderateur: David Bell

11h - 12h30 : Hobbes, Religion and the English Civil Wars

“Preaching against Oppression: Wars of Religion in Hobbes’s Behemoth” – Céline Spector (Université de Bordeaux Montaigne)
"‘At the Edge of Promises and Prophecies’: Thomas Hobbes and the Apocalyptic Imaginary" – Allison McQueen (Université de Stanford)

Moderateur: Dan Edelstein

14h - 15h30 : Wars of Religion in Early Modern French Philosophy. 

"‘During our current religious strife’. Montaigne and the Wars of Religion" (In French; English paper translation provided) – Frédéric Brahami (Université de Franche-Comté)
 “War, Religion and Wars of Religion in Rousseau’s Political Thought” – Florent Guénard (Université de Nantes)

Moderateur: Christophe Litwin

 16h - 17h30 : Are Wars of Religion about Religion? Comparative Approaches.

“What Do Religions Actually Fight About? A Durkheimian Perspective”. (In French; English paper translation provided) – Bruno Karsenti (EHESS)
“New Wars of Religion: Rethinking Contemporary Violence through the French Wars of Religion”. – Brian Sandberg (Institut d’études avancées de Paris et Université de Northern Illinois)

Moderateur : Jonny Thakkar

17h30 - 18h : Discussion

Vendredi 24 avril

9h15 - 10h45 : Does Religion cause Wars? 

“On Some Uses of the Term Religion.” – Jeffrey Stout (Université de Princeton)
“Religious Conviction and the Necessity of War” – Oded Na’aman (Université de Harvard)

Moderateur: Melissa Lane

11h - 12h30 : Can Contemporary Ethnic and Confessional Conflicts be coined as Wars of Religion? 

“The Tenth Parallel.” – Eliza Griswold (freelance journalist; writes for the NYT)
“An Intra-religious Genocide: The Extermination of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994” – Julien Seroussi (Paris Court of Appeal; worked for the International Criminal Court 2009-2012)

Moderateur : Carolyn Rouse

12h30 - 13h15 : Conclusions et discussion

Un Courage viril. Le genre et la violence en France pendant les Guerres de Religion
01 octobre 2014 - 30 juin 2015
30 juin 2015
23 Avr 2015 17:30
Brian Sandberg
Conférences, interventions et entretiens
Époque moderne (1492-1789)
Europe occidentale