Dana Lloyd

Position title: Honorary Fellow (2015-2016)

Religion, Syracuse University

Portrait image of Dana Lloyd

Between God and Land: On Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and Religious Freedom

Religious freedom in the United States is commonly understood as an individual right. This understanding has a particular history. By examining the history of religious freedom, I show that it has often been understood collectively, not individually. This is because religious freedom has often been understood as the freedom of a religious community to possess land, and to exercise political authority over it. I examine Biblical and early modern history, showing that religious freedom is closely related to collective land possession. I then turn to two case studies, of claims to sacred land by Native Americans and in Israel/Palestine. These two cases each reveal insights that can be brought to the other. Moreover, while courts often understand religious freedom in these cases as an individual right, I explore the legal implication of recovering the history of religious freedom as a collective right.

Dana Lloyd is a Ph.D. Candidate in Religion at Syracuse University. She grew up in Tel Aviv and received her LL.B., LL.M. and M.A. (philosophy) degrees from Tel Aviv University. She practiced law for several years, focusing on human rights law and labor law, before moving to the U.S. and starting her doctoral studies. She studies the relation between law and religion, more specifically, on the relation between religious freedom and land rights, in the U.S. and in Israel/Palestine. She is at work on her dissertation entitled “Between God and Land: On Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and Religious Freedom.”