Alidadi, Katayoun

Bryant University
06 Oct 2023 to 14 Oct 2023

Katayoun Alidadi is currently Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Bryant University.

She joined Bryant University in 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, specializing in comparative law, law and religion, and the intersection of human rights and business law. Originally from Tehran, Iran, her family fled Iran after the 1979 revolution and settled in Belgium where they were recognized as political refugees. Dr. Alidadi went on to complete her law degree at the KULeuven in Leuven, Belgium. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and grant from the Belgian-American Educational Foundation (B.E.A.F.) to continue her studies in the U.S. and obtained an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Harvard law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her doctoral thesis analyzed and compared the legal treatment of religious symbols and practices in employment relations and unemployment benefits litigation in both Europe and North America. She successfully defended the thesis in 2015 at the KU Leuven before a prominent jury which included UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Heiner Bielefeldt.

She has won various research and writing awards, including the 2013 Ius Commune Prize for her research on reasonable accommodation for religion and belief and the Addison Brown Prize at Harvard Law School for her paper on the recognition of Islamic talaq (divorce) in Western jurisdictions.

Prior to entering academia, she practiced law, first with the international law firm Clifford Chance LLP in Brussels and later with Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles. She was also a reporter for the Dallas Morning News.

Before joining Bryant University, she taught conflict of laws at the University of Houston Law Center and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany.

At Bryant University, she teaches various classes in the Politics and Law Program, including Introduction to Legal Studies, The Legal Environment of Business, Law & Society, International Business Law, and Law and Religion in Comparative Context. She has also supervised and mentored numerous students at Bryant, including for their Honors theses.

She is the author of Religion, Equality and Employment in Europe: The Case for Reasonable Accommodation (Hart, 2017, honorable mention from the International Academy of Comparative Law for the 2018 Canada Prize) and co-editor of A Test of Faith: Religious diversity and accommodation in the European workplace (Ashgate, 2012) and Belief, Law and Politics. What Future for a Secular Europe? (Ashgate, 2014), Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity: Analysis, Reception and Challenges (Routledge, 2018). Her recent book is Redesigning Justice for Plural Societies: Case studies of Minority Accommodation from around the Globe (co-editor, Routledge, 2022).

She was Principal Investigator of a project titled “Religious Services in the Age of Social Distancing: Rhode Island Narratives and Snapshots”, which explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected religious communities in Rhode Island. This project benefitted greatly from a mini-grant awarded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities in the summer of 2021.

She is on the board of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and was connected to the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany as a Research Partner.

Area(s) of expertise: human rights; law & religion; employment law; comparative law; legal pluralism