Mareike Riedel is currently a doctoral researcher in the Law & Anthropology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. She studied law, linguistics, literature and journalism in Leipzig, Lyon and Jerusalem. In her studies she focused on legal history, legal language, law and the arts and interdisciplinary research in law. She has worked for the German mission to the United Nations in New York, for the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin and for the Israel Democracy Institute. During her several stays in Jerusalem she became interested in the relationship between state law and Judaism and in processes of identity formation in law. In her doctoral research she explores law’s promise of neutrality as it is experienced by Jewish communities in two liberal democracies, Germany and Australia. Through the lens of two case studies she will assess how the legal norm in categories such as ‘religion’, ‘body’ and ‘public space’ is constructed, both in the literature and in practice, in conflicts between the majority society and a religious minority. A special emphasis will be placed on the role of law in the construction of cultural identity and difference.