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Denis Lacorne


Keynote Address – Tuesday, January 19 – 9:50am PST // 12:50pm EST
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Denis Lacorne is Senior Research Fellow at CERI (Centre d’Etudes et des Researches Internationales), Sciences Po. He has written extensively on religion in the United States and the politics of toleration in general. He turns to history to trace the development of modern conceptions of toleration and to find precedents for new ways we can understand and apply it. In his recent book The Limits of Tolerance (2019), translated from Les frontières de la tolérance (2016), Lacorne distinguishes the “modern” definition of tolerance from predecessors and alternatives. He associates this modern account with European thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, including Locke and Voltaire, who rendered tolerance a necessary condition to uphold a right to religious belief, practice and conscience. This approach drew from older practices of tolerance, including the commercial toleration in Venice and the imperial pluralism of the Ottoman Empire, while insisting that its protections be expanded to individuals. He uses this history to mark the uniqueness of the “multicultural” regimes of toleration that have become common for nations that have seen considerable influxes of immigration from minority religions since the last decades of the twentieth century. In these, forms of group identification and schooling have become particularly important.

Example of published work:

Denis Lacorne, The Limits of Tolerance: Enlightenment Values and Religious Fanaticism, trans. C. Jon Delogu and Robin Emlein (Columbia University Press, 2019);