C.V. | Publications

Research Interests
Human rights, law and religion, Islam in Europe, socio-legal studies, comparative law, migration, integration and transnationalism

Research Area(s)
Western Europe, North-America, Iran


Katayoun Alidadi was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology from April 2015 to June 2017. She joined Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, in the fall of 2017. Since then she has remained connected to the Institute as a Research Associate and, since June 2018, as a Research Partner. Her research focuses on human rights and antidiscrimination law, law and religion, and law and society. She obtained her law degrees from the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Harvard Law School. In her Ph.D. thesis, Faith, Identity and Participation in the Workplace: A Comparative Legal Study on the Role of Religion and Belief in Individual Labour Relations and Unemployment Benefits Litigation (2015, KU Leuven), she critically analysed the legal protections for employees’ religion or belief in the private workplace and in the frame of unemployment disputes in Europe and North America. From 2010 to 2013 she was a leading project researcher in the interdisciplinary EU-funded FP7 Programme RELIGARE (‘Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe – Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy’).

She has also conducted fieldwork, in particular among a newly established humanist community in the American Bible belt and among Muslim women in Europe. She is a socio-legal scholar who believes in the value of an empirically enriched approach to questions of religious diversity and the law.

Alidadi is the author of Religion, Equality and Employment in Europe: The Case for Reasonable Accommodation (Hart 2017) and co-editor of A Test of Faith: Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace (Ashgate 2012) and Belief, Law and Politics: What Future for a Secular Europe? (Ashgate 2014). Her most recent edited volume is Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity: Analysis, Reception and Challenges (Routledge 2018).

Why Law & Anthropology?

“The benefits of an empirically enriched approach to questions of religious diversity and the law cannot be overstated. In the diverse reality of today, if we want to understand minorities (let alone accept and accommodate) we cannot turn a blind eye to other people’s stories, perspectives, relationships and values. In the past, social anthropological inquiries were initiated in exotic locales but this methodology and approach is now more and more applied to locales closer to home, offering concepts and frameworks (e.g. legal pluralism) which are highly constructive when exploring and analyzing such situations. Considering and reconsidering positions, interests, laws and rights with the curiosity which has been paramount in the social anthropological success-story could at times offer ways out of deadlock debates and hard-fraught dilemma’s related to law, religion, cultural diversity and society.”

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