Programme‎ > ‎

Speakers

Short bio
Dr. Mohammad Abdullah is an expert in the theory and practices of Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Banking & Finance. Abdullah is a well-trained and highly experienced Shariah Scholar, providing Shariah consultancy and advisory services to various Islamic financial institutions in Europe, South America and the UAE. He is a reputed researcher and has produced a number of research papers and Book chapters on the comparative study of Waqf and English trust, Shariah governance, Islamic finance and development studies. Abdullah received his PhD at the University of Gloucestershire (UK) and he is a frequent presenter of research papers at different Universities and International conferences in different American, European and Asian countries including Germany, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, United Kingdom, Italy, Trinidad &Tobago, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and the UAE. Dr. Abdullah is currently based in Dubai.

Stef Aupers
KU Leuven

 
Short bio
Stef Aupers is a cultural sociologist and works as professor media culture at the department of communication science, Institute of Media Studies, Leuven University in Belgium. He published widely in international peer-reviewed journals on topics as diverse as religion, spirituality, fantasy fiction, conspiracy theories and different aspects of media- and game culture. A prominent line of research in his work is the elective affinity between digital technology and religion. While working at the Erasmus University Rotterdam as a PhD student in 2001, he received a Fulbright scholarship to do fieldwork in Silicon Valley and interviewed about 35 ICT-specialists, programmers and futurists on this topic (published in Dutch in 2004). Together with Dick Houtman he edited and published Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital, Leiden: Brill. Since 2014, he worksaAt KU Leuven and he currently supervises three PhD-projects on game culture respectively, games and social networks (Cindy Krassen), games and Artificial Intelligence (Iulia Coanda) and games and religion (Lars de Wildt). On the latter he recently published: (2019). Pop Theology: Forum Discussions on Religion in Videogames. Information, Communication & Society. DOI: org/10.1080/1369118X.2019.1577476 (online first, with L. de Wildt); (2019) Playing the Other: Role-Playing Religion in Video Games. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(5-6), 867-884 (with L. de Wildt); (2017) ‘Gods in World of Warcraft exist’: Religious reflexivity and the quest for meaning in online computer games.’ New Media & Society, 19(11): 1744-1760 (with J. Schaap).




Erica Baffelli
University of Manchester

Short bio
Erica Baffelli is currently Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Japanese Studies at The University of Manchester (UK). Before arriving at Manchester in 2013 she was visiting researcher at Hosei University (Tokyo) and post-doctoral research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2005-2007) and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions at the University of Otago (New Zealand, 2007-2013). She is also the Director of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, a consortium sponsored by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) of seven universities and HEIs.  She is interested in religion in contemporary Japan, with a focus on groups founded from the 1970s onwards. Recent publications include: Dynamism and the Ageing of a Japanese 'New' Religion ( with Ian Reader, Bloomsbury 2019); Media and New Religions in  Japan (Routledge 2016); Baffelli and Reader (eds),  Aftermath: the Impact and Ramifications of the Aum Affair. Special Issue of the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 39 (1), 2012; and Baffelli, Reader and Staemmler (eds), Japanese Religions on the Internet: Innovation, Representation and Authority (Routledge 2011).




Dominik Balazka
University of Trento and Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Was Blumer right? Religious values and quantified self in the Petabyte Age (abstract)

Short bio
Dominik Balazka is a social researcher and data analyst. He is currently a collaborator of the University of Trento and an affiliated fellow researcher at the Center for Religious Studies of the Bruno Kessler Foundation. His main interests include cultural studies, secularization, religious beliefs, religious nones, Big Data, philosophy of science and action theory. Publication: Balazka, D., & Rodighiero, D. (2019). Big Data and the Little Big Bang: An Epistemological (R)evolution. Manuscript submitted to publication.




Zachary Calo

Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar

Human Dignity after the Human (abstract)

Short bio

Zachary Calo is Professor of Law at Hamad Bin Khalifa University. He is also Research Scholar in Law and Religion at Valparaiso University, Fellow at Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University (UK), and Professor (Adj.) at Notre Dame Law School Australia. He has taught at Valparaiso University Law School, Notre Dame Law School, DePaul University College of Law, and Hangdong International Law School (South Korea), and been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. He practiced law at BuckleySandler, LLP in Washington, DC.






Yaqub Chaudhary
Cambridge Muslim College
Short bio
Yaqub Chaudhary, Research Fellow in AI, Philosophy and Theology at the Cambridge Muslim College. My research interests include Artificial Intelligence and recent developments in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience in connection with Islamic philosophy of the mind. Recent publications: “The Artificialization of Mind and World”, forthcoming, accepted for publication in Zygon; “Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and the Re-Enchantment of the World”, Zygon, May 2019, doi: 10.1111/zygo.12521; “Delegating Religious Practices to Autonomous Machines, A Reply to ‘Prayer-Bots and Religious Worship on Twitter: A Call for a Wider Research Agenda’” Minds & Machines, April 2019, doi: 10.1007/s11023-019-09499-2 



Matteo Corsalini
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Session Chair
Short bio
Matteo Corsalini is a PhD candidate working under the guidance of Prof. Marco Ventura. He joined FBK- ISR in 2018, thanks to a collaboration between the FBK International PhD program and the University of Siena – Law Department. In March 2017, he received his Bachelor’s Degree and LLM from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia – Law Department, with a first class honour. From July to August 2017, Matteo was graduate visiting student at Istanbul Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi, Istanbul, Turkey. Prior to his appointment at University of Siena and FBK-ISR, from January to July 2018, he was a pre-doctoral student at University of Leicester – Law School, Leicester, UK. Matteo’s interests of research focus on the structure and rights of business and church corporations. Publications: “La tutela del principio di laicità nel codice penale turco del 1926 ed i più recenti sviluppi giurissprudenziali” (2017) Diritto Penale Contemporaneo 7(8) 101; “From the higher goods to the highest Gods: Corporate religious freedom (of the church) in the aftermath of Achbita v G4S Secure solutions” (under peer-review).




Nachum Dershowitz 
University of Tel Aviv

Short bio
Nachum Dershowitz is Professor of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University and incumbent of the Chair in Computational
Logic. His graduate degrees in applied mathematics are from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. He is an international authority on program verification and equational reasoning and has made major contributions to the computer analysis of historical manuscripts. He has authored or coauthored over 100 research papers and several books, spent 2015-2016 as a Senior Fellow at the Institut d'études avancées de Paris, held visiting positions at other prominent institutions around the globe, was elected to Academia Europaea in 2013, and has won numerous awards for research and teaching, including the Herbrand Award for Distinguished Contributions to Automated Reasoning, several “test of time” awards for past research, and the Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award for his book, Calendrical Calculations, with Ed Reingold, now in its fourth edition.




Margherita Galassini 
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Session Chair

Short bio
Margherita Galassini is a researcher at the Center for Religious Studies of Fondazione Bruno Kessler, in Trento, and PhD candidate in Political Theory at LUISS Guido Carli, in Rome. During the course of her PhD, she was a junior visiting scholar at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Margherita obtained an MRes in European Studies and an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on questions of religious accommodation, state legitimacy, and more broadly on the relationship between religion and the state in liberal democracies. On these issues, she recently published a book chapter entitled "Militant secularism versus tolerant pluralism: a critical assessment of the European Court of Human Rights”, which appeared in Bialasiewicz, L. and Gentile, V., 2019. Spaces of tolerance. Changing geographies and philosophies of religion in today’s Europe. Routledge.




Robert Geraci
Manhattan College

Short bio
Robert M Geraci is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in New York City. He is the author of Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality (Oxford 2010), Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life (Oxford 2014), and Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science (Lexington 2018). His research has been supported by grants from the American Academy of Religion, the National Science Foundation (U.S.A.), and twice by Fulbright-Nehru Professional Excellence (Research) awards.




Emanuel Kessler
Independent Researcher


Short bio
Emanuel Kessler studied “Scientific Programming” at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, where he earned his „Bachelor of Science“ in 2008. He worked as a software developer for a decade in IT in a German insurance company. Emanuel is currently administrator for two collaboration tools in the same IT. Today, he has also a lot of experience in agile project management, being a “Certified ScrumMaster” since 2018. Additionally, since 2009 he has been self-employed in preaching ministry and presenting in Germany and abroad, as well as being an author. 2019, his article “Herding bees: A metaphor for agile project management” was published in the book “Metaphors for Leading – Leading by Metaphors”, Göttingen: V&R unipress GmbH, 2020, his article “Is Data a ‘sentient being’? Answers from movies and television” is forthcoming.




Volker Kessler
Gesellschaft für Bildung und Forschung in Europa and University of South Africa


Short bio
Volker Kessler (Ph.D.; D.Th.), holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics, University of Cologne, and a D.Th. in Practical Theology, University of South Africa. For 12 years he worked for the Siemens Company, Munich, as a researcher in cryptography. Since 1998 he is director of the Akademie für christliche Führungskräfte (www.acf.de) and since 2002 he is also dean of the GBFE (www.gbfe.eu). In 2012 he was appointed as professor extraordinarius at the Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa. He teaches Leadership and Ethics at different universities and also does professional trainings for business companies and NPOs worldwide. He published many articles, academic books and popular books, among others the bestsellers Die Machtfalle and Kritisieren ohne zu verletzen, which were translated in six other languages. Volker especially enjoys to do interdisciplinary research, like in “Spirituality in mathematics” (Journal for the Study of Spirituality 2019(1),49-61). He and his wife live near Cologne, they have four children and six grand-children.




Oliver
Krüger
University of Fribourg

Short bio
Oliver Krüger (*1973) is professor for Religious Studies at Fribourg University (Switzerland). After finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Bonn, he did research at Heidelberg and Princeton University on Wicca resp. the US funeral culture. Krüger is specialized in the relation of media, science and religion. Major publications: Virtualität und Unsterblichkeit. Gott, Evolution und die Singularität im Post- und Transhumanismus. Freiburg 22019 (English publication forthc. 2020); Die mediale Religion. Probleme und Perspektiven religionswissenschaftlicher und wissenssoziologischer Medienforschung. Bielefeld 2012.




Lionel Obadia

University of Lyon

Short bio
Lionel Obadia, Ph-D in Sociology (1997) has been associate professor in Ethnology (1998-2004) and is full professor in Anthropology (since 2004) at the University of Lyon, France. He now heads the department of Social Sciences and Humanities at the French Agency for Research (ANR). He has been teaching in other French universities (INALCO, EHESS, EPHE, SciencePo) and has been fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies of Strasbourg (France). He is specialized in anthropology of religion, Asian religions (Buddhism, shamanism, Hinduism) and Globalization, magic and modernity. He has conducted fieldworks in France, Europe, North America, Nepal, and South India. He has published 10 books, edited 17 special issues of peer-reviewed journals, and published more than 170 papers (journal articles and book chapters) in French, English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. Selected publications: Religion et histoire globale, special issue of Diogène, n°256, 2019; Fleeting Sentiments of the Sacred, special issue of Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 2018; Global phenomena and social science (co-editor) (Springer, 2017); Religious diversity in Asia, Special issue of Approaching religion Vol 7 No 1, 2017; Experiencing religion. New approaches towards personal religiosity (co-editor) Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2016; Satan (Paris, Ellipses, 2016); Shalom Bouddha! Bouddhisme et judaïsme, l’improbable rencontre, (Paris, Berg International, 2015); Globalization and the New Geographies of Religion, special issue of International Social Science Journal, vol 63, 2014; La marchandisation de Dieu. Economie religieuse (Paris, CNRS Editions, 2013); Anthropologie des religions (second edition, Paris, La découverte, 2012); The Economics of religion (With Don Wood) (London, Emerald, 2011); Le bouddhisme en Occident (Paris, La Découverte, 2007); La sorcellerie (Paris: Le Cavalier Bleu Editions. 2005); La religion (Paris: Le Cavalier Bleu Editions. 2004); Bouddhisme et Occident. La diffusion du bouddhisme tibétain en France (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1999)



Nausica Palazzo
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Session Chair

Short bio
Nausica Palazzo holds a cum laude Ph.D. in Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Trento. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Trento and Fondazione Bruno Kessler, where she explores the common interest that religious and queer groups have in recognizing non-traditional families through means other than marriage. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Law at Bocconi University, Milan and trains public bodies on anti-corruption law through Transparency International Italia. In the past, she conducted research as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and as a visiting fellow at McGill University. She published both in Italian and English on subjects related to Antidiscrimination Law, Family Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Voting Rights. Her latest publications include “Equality in Canada: A tale of non-normative groups struggling with grounds of discrimination”, 10 Onati Socio-Legal Series 88 (2020), “The Strange Pairing: Building Alliances Between Queer Activists and Conservative Groups to Recognize New Families”, 25 Mich. J. Gender & L. 161 (2018).




Inken Prohl
University of Heidelberg

Session Chair

Short bio
Inken Prohl is Professor of Religious Studies at Heidelberg University (since 2006). For several years she has been conducting fieldwork in Japan and Germany. Her research interests focus on modern transformations of Buddhism, approaches of ‚Material Religion’ as well as Religion and artificial intelligence. In cooperation with the project: Buddhism, Business and Believers she is currently working on new approaches to the field of Buddhism and consumption. Together with John Nelson she published the The Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions (Leiden: Brill 2012). Her publications also include Religiöse Innovationen: Die Shinto-Organisation World Mate in Japan (Reimer, 2005), Zen für Dummies (Wiley, 2010), “California 'Zen': Buddhist Spirituality Made in America“, in: Amerikastudien / American Studies Vol. 59, No. 2 (2014), S. 193-206 and “Aesthetics”, in: Plate, S. Brent (Hg.): Key Terms in Material Religion. London et al: Bloomsbury Academic 2015, S. 9-15.




Boris Rähme
Fondazione Bruno Kessler 

Session Chair

Short bio
Boris Rähme (Dr. phil. in Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin, 2010), is a researcher at the Center for Religious Studies of Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento (Italy) and lecturer in Logic, Philosophy of Logic and Ontology at the University of Trento. He has been researcher and lecturer at FU Berlin, Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and has held research fellowships at the Universities of Sheffield and Helsinki. His main research interests are in social epistemology, philosophy of religion and the intersection between religious studies and theories of innovation. Rähme has published numerous articles in philosophical epistemology, theories of truth, religion and new technologies, and he is the author of the monograph Wahrheit, Begründbarkeit und Fallibilität (Ontos, De Gruyter, 2010). Forthcoming: Is Transhumanism a Religion? In G. Isetti, E. Innerhofer, H. Pechlaner (eds.), Religion in the Age of Digitization – Spirituality and Human Interaction, Routledge; Religion and Innovation: Charting the Territory, in B. Godin, Gérald Gaglio, D. Vinck (eds.), Handbook of Alternative Theories of Innovation, Edward Elgar.




Dario Rodighiero
MIT and Harvard University


Short bio
Dario Rodighiero is a designer and a digital humanist. Today he is a postdoctoral associate at MIT Comparative Media Studies and an affiliate at Harvard MetaLab. He combines humanities and technology by practicing design at the intersection of architecture, data visualization, social science, graphic and interaction design. The Swiss National Science Foundation is currently financing his position. His work focuses at different scales on the social dynamics of academia. After looking at individuals by designing the Affinity Map⁠, currently he develops the Worldwide Map of Research, a recommendation system for scholarly mobility making use of Artificial Intelligence. Among his publications: Rodighiero, D., & Romele, A. (2020). The Hermeneutic Circle of Data Visualization. Forthcoming in Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 24(2); Rodighiero, D., & Rigal, A. (2019). The Daily Design of Quantified Self. Swiss Informatics Digital Magazine (online). DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3463587; Rodighiero, D., & Cellard, L. (2019). Self-Recognition in Data Visualization. How Individuals See Themselves in Visual Representations. Interdisciplinary journal of social sciences, EspacesTemps.net (online). DOI: 10.26151/espacestemps.net-wztp-cc46




Roberto Scalia

University of Bergamo


Short bio
Roberto Scalia is Assistant Professor of Tax Law at University of Bergamo (Italy) where he got his PhD in International and EU Public and Tax Law. He authored plenty of papers, articles and chapter in Book on GCC States’ Tax Issues and, among the others about: (i) Transitional rules (2019) and cross-border aspects of GCC VAT (2019); (ii) the Qatari Tax System (2015) and the QFC sc. ‘concessionary rate’ regime (2016); (iii) the UAE Federal Tax System (2019); (iv) the GCC in a tax law perspective (2017); and (v) tax aspects of UAE Waqf legislation (2019 and 2020). He has been called as a lecturer and main speaker at GCC Universities [Qatar University (2017), Dubai University and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (2019)], Financial Centre [QFC (2016)] and outstanding events [5th MENA Tax Forum, Doha (2015)] aside International events on the same topics [Queen Mary University, London (2015)]. Roberto is Founder of the GTL network (www.gcctaxlaw.eu), Chairman of the Joint Italian-Arab Chamber of Commerce (JIACC) Tax Commission and Member of the Scientific Committee of the African Tax Research Network (ATRN). 




Julia Singer
Short bio 
Julia Singer (M.A. 2018) studied Ethnology and Near and Middle East Studies with a focus on Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. During her studies she worked in the Bavarian State Library in the Oriental and Asian Department and in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in the New German Biography. She is currently a research assistant and PhD student in the project “Arab Mass Media and (Trans)Regional Net Cultures” at the Institute for the Near and Middle East at the LMU Munich. In her doctoral thesis she deals with “The Future as (Utopian) Alternative? Medial Representations of Robotics & Artificial Intelligence in the Arabian Gulf Region”. Among her publications: Singer, Julia (2019), “Die Muslimbrüder zu Gast. Die (Selbst-)Darstellung der Muslimbrüder in der Talkshow Bi-lā ḥudūd zwischen 2011 und 2013”, Berlin: Bonner Islamwissenschaftliche Hefte 30. Singer, Julia (2019), “Fatwas from Islamweb.net on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence”, Gulf Research Meeting 2019 in Cambridge (in preparation).
Beth Singler is the Junior Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. Prior to this she was the post-doctoral Research Associate on the “Human Identity in an Age of Nearly-Human Machines” project at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. Beth explores the social, ethical, philosophical and religious implications of advances in Artificial Intelligence and robotics. As a part of her public engagement work she has produced a series of short documentaries. The first, ‘Pain in the Machine’, won the 2017 AHRC Best Research Film of the Year Award. She has also spoken on AI and human identity at the London Science Museum, Cheltenham Science Festival, the Barbican, the Being Human Festival, and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. She has appeared at the Edinburgh Science Festival, Ars Electronica, IP Expo, and New Scientist Live. In 2019 she spoke at the Norwich Science Festival, the London Science Museum, and was interviewed by the New Scientist, Forbes, and the BBC, among others. Recent and forthcoming publications include "Existential Hope and Existential Despair in AI Apocalypticism and Transhumanism" in Zygon and “Origin and the End: Artificial Intelligence, Atheism, and Imaginaries of the Future of Religion”, in AI Narratives from OUP.



Oliviero Stock
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Session Chair

Short bio

Oliviero Stock is an FBK-irst senior fellow. He has been at FBK-irst since 1988 and has been its director from 1997 to 2001. His activity is in artificial intelligence, mainly natural language processing, intelligent user interfaces, cognitive technologies, technology for cultural heritage appreciation, computational linguistic creativity. He is the author of over two hundred and sixty peer-reviewed papers and author or editor of twelve volumes, has been a member of the editorial board of a dozen scientific journals, and a keynote speaker at over eighty conferences.  O.S. has been Chairman of the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI, now EURAI), President of the Association for Computational Linguistics and President of AI*IA, the Italian AI Association. Member of the Committee for the Best European Artificial Intelligence Dissertation Award, established by ECCAI (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of DFKI, the German Research Institute for AI, (2004-2019). He is an EURAI Fellow, a AAAI Fellow and a DFKI Fellow.  In 2019 he received a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Haifa.





William Storrar
Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton
 
Session Chair

Short bio
William Storrar, PhD, is Director of the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton, a nonprofit center with an interdisciplinary research program in the field of religion. As Director of CTI, he has raised over $6 million in research grants for interdisciplinary inquiries on theology, religion, and science, including a $1.1 million grant from NASA on the societal implications of astrobiology. The common thread of his work is an interest in the practice of collaboration in the academy and society. He was appointed to his current position in 2005, after holding the Chair of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Edinburgh, where he also served as Director of the University’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues. Prior to Edinburgh, he taught practical theology at the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow and served as a parish minister in the Church of Scotland. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and is currently a Visiting Professor in Global Civics at Glasgow Caledonian University in his native Scotland, reflecting his research interests in civil society, congregations, and citizenship. His publications include edited volumes on public theology, global civil society, and faith-based organizing. In the United States, he is an elected Member of the American Theological Society and has served on the selection committee for the NASA / Library of Congress Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology since its inauguration at the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, Washington DC.





Paolo Traverso
Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Session Chair

Short bio
Paolo Traverso is Director of the  Center for Information Technology - IRST at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK ICT) since 2008. In FBK,  He has been involved and has been leading several research and industrial projects in the field of Artificial  Intelligence (AI),    Industry 4.0, Public Health, Smart Cities and Social Media. He contributed to research in automated planning with a novel technique called “planning as model checking”, which is now the basis for his work on supporting the automated composition and run-time monitoring of service oriented applications. He is member of the Scientific Advisory Board of DFKI (Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz ,  the main German research center in AI), of the Steering Committee,  and member of the Management Committee of the National Laboratory on Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems (funded in 2018 by CINI – National Interuniversity Consortium for Informatics). In 2005, he was nominated EurAi/ECCAI fellow “for pioneering work in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and outstanding service to the AI community”. Web page FBK, ResearchGate, GoogleScholar





Marco Ventura
Fondazione Bruno Kessler 

Session Chair

Short bio
Marco Ventura is Director of the Center for Religious Studies (ISR) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler and full professor (professore ordinario) with tenure at the Department of Law of the University of Siena. After a PhD at the University of Strasbourg he has visited the universities of London (UCL), Oxford, Strasbourg, Brussels (ULB), the Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária of Macau, the Indian Law Institute in Delhi, the University of Cape Town, Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. He was a professor (hoogleraar) at the Faculty of Canon Law of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven from October 2012 to September 2015. From 2013 to 2015 he visited Vietnam as an expert in the dialogue between the European Union and the Vietnamese Committee on Religious Affairs. He is a member of the European Consortium for Church and State Research and of the Centre for Droit, Religion, Entreprise et Societé at the University of Strasbourg and CNRS. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal (Cambridge University Press). His subjects include law and religion, canon law, church and state relationships, comparative religious laws, religious freedom, bioethics and biolaw. Ventura is the author of the following books: Procréer hors la loi (Strasbourg: Cerdic-publications, 1994), Pena e penitenza nel diritto canonico postconciliare (Napoli: ESI, 1996), La laicità dell’Unione europea (Torino: Giappichelli, 2001),  Religion and Law in Italy (Alphen aan den Rijn: Wolters Kluwer, 2013), Creduli e credenti. Il declino di Stato e Chiesa come questione di fede (Torino: Einaudi, 2014) and From Your Gods to Our Gods. A History of Religion in British, Indian and South African Courts Eugene (Cascade Books).