Theorizing Religions as Vestigial States in Relation to Gender and Law: Three Cases
Goldenberg argues that religions can be productively thought of as vestigial states in order to clarify their history and function in relation to contemporary forms of statecraft. The following topics pertaining to this hypothesis are briefly mentioned: defining a state in international law, control of violence, and states' anxiety about Islam, Wicca, Jewish history, Greek mythology, and women's political status. Particular emphasis is then placed on how theorizing religions as vestigial states relativizes supposed major differences between "secular" and "religious" law. Three examples focused on gender to illustrate this contention: changes to Jewish divorce law in Quebec, debates about sharia in Ontario, and a German judge's interpretation of Islamic legal tradition in a divorce case.
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