Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2018

Why Religious Supremacy Clauses dont work: Seminar

On Friday 6 July, UNSW Law will host Dr Benjamin Schonthal to speak on "Why Religious Supremacy Clauses Don’t Work: Buddhism, Secularism and the Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka" Recent scholarship on religion and constitutional law tends to characterize religious supremacy clauses – clauses that give special status or protections to one or more religions – as either regressive or unjust. They are considered regressive because they seem to refuse the presumed secularity of modern law; they are considered unjust because they seem to give unfair political or economic advantages to members of the preferred religious group(s). Yet, are these characterisations accurate? Are religious supremacy clauses always unequivocal boons for the majority religious groups? Moreover, when it comes to religion, do religiously preferential constitutions function differently from non-preferential ones? Drawing on my recent book, and ongoing research, I explore these questions in the cont

Politics in Action in Southeast Asia

On 18 May, Sydney will again hold its flagship annual event, "Politics in Action in Southeast Asia". When: 9.30am-4.30pm, 18 May 2018 Where: Education Lecture Theatre 351, Education Building A35 Invited experts will provide an analysis of the political situation in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines and discuss the broader implications of events in these countries for our region. Drawing upon expertise from around the world, these presentations will keep you up-to-date with developments in Southeast Asia. This event is open to academics and non-academics alike. In 2018, the forum will focus on: Cambodia; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines. Our exciting line-up of speakers confirmed for the day include:         Professor Garry Rodan (Murdoch University) Associate Professor Bridget Welsh (John Cabot University, Italy) Dr Su Mon Thazin Aung (Institute of Strategy and Policy, Myanmar) Dr Keith Barney (Australian National Uni

Courts, Power and Legal Process in Indonesia

This workshop on “ Courts, Power and Legal Process in Indonesia ” will reflect on the growth in the role and function of courts in Indonesia. 20 years on from Indonesia’s democratic transition, there has not yet been a thorough analysis of how and why Indonesia’s courts have changed, and what this says about power and legal culture today. The common theoretical point of reference for this workshop is the seminal work of the late Professor Dan S Lev, a pioneer in the study of courts and legal process in Indonesia. Lev’s work was grounded in a socio-legal approach to the study of law, and his work spans an impressive range of themes related to courts, judges, lawyers and politics in Indonesia from the 1960s to 2000s. The papers in this workshop seek to reinvigorate and affirm the importance of Lev’s work for the study of courts in Indonesia today. Offering new and empirically informed perspectives on important developments in the courts, this panel seeks to bring the study of Indonesia

Brownbag: Charting the Future of Constitutionalism in Myanmar

On 10 April 2018  I will give a brownbag seminar as a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, the University of Melbourne.  The talk is based on the first chapter of the book manuscript, The Constitution of Myanmar , which is part of Hart’s Constitutions of the World series. Abstract: This timely and accessible book is the first to provide a thorough analysis of the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar (Burma) in its historical, political and social context. The book offers an in-depth exploration of the key elements of the 2008 Constitution in theory and practice. The book considers the historical foundations of the 2008 Constitution and the critical issue of legitimacy raised by the past process of constitution-making. The book identifies and articulates the constitutional principles of the 2008 Constitution, based on an analysis of legal and political process since 2011. It highlights critical constitutional contestations that hav

The Politics of Courts and Legal Culture

Law and Society Association Panel 2018 Panel Title: The Politics of Courts and Legal Culture: Indonesia’s Judiciary and the Legacy of Dan S Lev On Friday 8 June, as part of the Law and Society Association Annual conference, I am looking forward to being part of this panel on the politics of courts and legal culture.   This panel presents a series of related papers around the broader theme of legal culture and the role and function of courts in Indonesia. Twenty years on from Indonesia’s democratic transition, and there has not yet been a thoroughly analysis of how and why Indonesia’s courts have changed, and what this says about the contested concept of legal culture today. A true pioneer in this area is the late Professor Dan S Lev. His work was grounded in a socio-legal approach to the study of law, and his work spans an impressive range of themes related to courts, judges, lawyers and politics in Indonesia from the 1960s to 2000s. The three papers in this panel seek to re

Keynote address for the Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars

Politics and Religion: Kruba Srivichai, the Saint in the Storms of Modern Thailand Professor Katherine Bowie, University of Wisconsin-Madison Keynote address for the Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS) Asian Studies Association of Australia biennial conference 5-5.45pm, 3 July 2018, University of Sydney Kruba Srivichai (1878-1939) is the most famous monk of northern Thailand.  Born during a stormy night, northerners came to believe that he was a tonbun, a saintly precursor of Maitreya.  Able to mobilize popular support on an unprecedented scale, Srivichai was involved in the building or restoration of over 100 temples throughout the northern region.  By contrast the Bangkok court viewed him as a rebel leading a millenarian revolt against central Thai authority.  During his lifetime he was detained until temple arrest multiple times.  He was sent to Bangkok for investigation in 1920 and again in 1935-36, the latter arrest leading to the forcible disrobing of

Myanmar's Constitutional Tribunal

Myanmar is one of the most recent countries in the world to have established a Constitutional Tribunal. Yet the operation of the Tribunal flies in the face of assumptions common to global constitutionalism. At present, external factors such as globalised judicial networks or comparative concepts of rights-based review have had little influence in Myanmar. Instead, the operation of the Tribunal can be explained by two main internal factors and the actions, or inaction, of elite political actors. I demonstrate this by analysing the Constitutional Tribunal under President Thein Sein (2011-2012; 2013-2016) and then the National League for Democracy government (2016-). In this talk I focus on the issue of the right to vote and citizenship to illustrate when and why elites (both democrats and dictators) use the Tribunal. Although the global community largely perceived the 2015 elections to be free and fair, in fact the decision of the Tribunal combined with the actions of Parliament cont