Jade Alvillar '18

Islamophobia in France: The Contradiction in the Implementation of Laïcité in the 21st Century,” by Jade Alvillar ’18, was published in the summer issue of Religio et Lex: Contemplations on Religion & Law.

Alvillar majored in French and religious studies at Hamilton; the article was written as her religious studies senior thesis. In recognition of her work, Alvillar was the recipient of the 2017-18 Undergraduate Achievement Award from the Hamilton chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for religious studies and theology.

Religio et Lex describes Alvillar’s article as an examination of “the clash between the French version of secularism and the religious traditions of Muslims, particularly in the clash between the French prohibition of public displays of religion on the one hand and the wearing of the hijab on the other.

“[Avillar] suggests that rather than causing friction, the clash is the almost inevitable outcome of worldview clashes between a former colonial power and its once colonized peoples seeking to participate freely in the dominant culture,” the description concludes.

Alvillar participated in the Hamilton on France program during her junior year. The following year, she was awarded a teaching assistantship in France through the French Ministry of Education.

“Living in France first as a student in the Hamilton in France program, and later as an English teacher in Nancy, France,” Alvillar said, “I became incredibly passionate about this research after witnessing the considerable inequity existing even in developed and democratic nations like France. Though my research centers on particularly French issues, my work feels increasingly relevant in the current political climate here in the United States.”

She said that she is grateful for the “invaluable direction” of Associate Professor of Religious Studies Abhishek Amar as she completed her thesis work, and “the generous recommendation” of her paper to Religio et Lex by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Seth Schermerhorn, noting that both “have supported [her] well after leaving the Hill.”

Religio et Lex is produced under the auspices of the Robert Nusbaum Center at Virginia Wesleyan University. The journal publishes papers on various aspects of the intersection of religion and law.

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