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2017 Penn JIL Online Symposium: Circumcision in Germany

Male circumcision has deep cultural and religious roots, meaning that many governments permit the practice as part of the free exercise of religion. But because parents often circumcise their sons as infants, the procedure implicates boys’ autonomy interests as well. A German court case criminalizing the practice — and the subsequent legislative override of the ruling — subjected ritual circumcision and the competing concerns around it to public scrutiny and political controversy. Professor Stephen Munzer argued that secularization, cultural factors, and anti-minority sentiment factored into this court decision and subsequent controversy in his article Secularization, Anti-Minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms…

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Circumcision Symposium Online Publications

The German Circumcision Controversy – And Beyond

*Distinguished Research Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles. My thanks go to Jeremy Peretz for excellent research assistance and stimulating conversation on this reply. I am also grateful to Alison Munzer for many comments and suggestions, to Sydney Truong for her assistance, and to the Academic Senate and the Dean’s Fund at UCLA for financial support. © Stephen R. Munzer Professor Melanie Adrian, Professor Debra L. DeLaet, and Mr. Brian D. Earp and Dr. Robert Darby have responded thoughtfully to an article I wrote on the German circumcision controversy of 2012 and its immediate aftermath.01Stephen R. Munzer, Secularization,…

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Circumcision Symposium Online Publications

Melanie Adrian: Reply to Stephen R. Munzer’s “Secularization, Anti-Minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy”

*Melanie Adrian is Associate Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. She is the author of Risking Religious Freedom: The Eu, French Schools And Why The Veil Was Banned (2016). Introduction Stephen R. Munzer’s article entitled “Secularization, Anti-minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy” is a close examination of a series of legal cases that resulted in extended public discussions between 2010 and 2012 regarding circumcision practices in Germany. The author argues that three factors framed the issue during these two years: (1) that Germans historically do not circumcise, (2) that there…

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Circumcision Symposium Online Publications

Brian Earp & Robert Darby: Circumcision, Sexual Experience, and Harm: Reply to Stephen R. Munzer’s “Secularization, Anti-Minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy”

* Brian D. Earp is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and The Hastings Center. Robert Darby (Ph.D. University of New South Wales) is an independent scholar and author of A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain (University of Chicago Press, 2005). Thank you to Benjamin D. Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law for inviting us to respond to the article by Stephen R. Munzer, and to Sarah E. Kramer and Zachary Sweebe, the Executive Online Editors, for their…

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Circumcision Symposium Online Publications

Debra DeLaet: Response to Stephen R. Munzer’s Article, “Secularization, Anti-minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy”

Contemporary global politics have been characterized by unprecedented transnational migration flows that have contributed to cultural disruptions and conflicts in countries across the globe. Cultural pluralism has led to political and legal disputes regarding values, beliefs, and practices that are in conflict with the dominant culture in migrant-receiving countries. When socio-cultural differences emerge in countries in which the social fabric has been dramatically transformed by transnational migration, this dynamic can give rise to a politics that presumes negativity towards non-Western cultural norms and constructs non-Western migration populations as “alien” others.01Prakash Shah, Transnational Family Relations in Migration Contexts: British Variations on…

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