A public lecture by Robert Schwartzwald

National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Department of History, MA in Jewish Studies Program •Université de Montréal • Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies

invite to a public lecture by

Robert Schwartzwald

A Burden Upon Their Heads: Hassidim and Quebec’s Debate over ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ and laïcité


Modern Quebec nationalism sees itself as tolerant and largely social-democratic in outlook, yet the arrival of new immigrants from non-Christian countries has led to anxieties over the power of religious fundamentalisms and a demand for the Quebec state to forcefully assert its secular character. There are sharp divisions over what constitute “reasonable accommodations” of religious practices in public life, and a recently proposed law would ban any person wearing a head covering from providing or receiving state services. While it is generally acknowledged that this proposal reveals anxieties over the niqab worn by some Muslim women, other religious groups are implicated, including Montreal’s Hassidic community. We will examine tensions in Outremont, a neighborhood Hassidim share with a largely upper middle-class, francophone population, and the differing notions of secularism and intercultural relations that underlie them.


Robert Schwartzwald is a Professor in the Department of Literatures and Languages of the World at the Université de Montréal, where he directs the Graduate Certificate in Jewish Studies and the Master’s program in International Studies. He is a recipient of the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies and a former Editor of the “International Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue internationale d’études canadiennes”.


The public lecture will take place on

April 18, 2018



Office of the NaUKMA
Jewish Studies programs

Kyiv, Voloska Street 8/5,
Building 5, basement


All guests are requested to be seated by 18:00


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