ILSS: Elizabeth LhostPosted on May 18, 2023
On Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST via Zoom, Elizabeth Lhost (Dartmouth College) gave a book talk on her recent publication Everyday Islamic Law and the Making of Modern South Asia (University of North Carolina Press 2022). In this book, Lhost addresses how histories of Islamic law and legal practice in British-ruled India tend to focus on the evolution and administration of Muslim personal law through British-governed courts, often centering the colonial state and its approach to defining Islam and law. She argues that these histories miss the vibrant debates, exchanges, and investment in legal problem-solving that took place outside the courts, through unofficial correspondence with jurists, in private exchanges with judges, and through registers, files, postcards, and telegrams. Lhost highlights how Islamic law operated in and through these unofficial, ephemeral, and everyday spaces. In her talk, she will discuss how judges and jurists asserted, negotiated, and employed the modicum of official privilege and prestige the state awarded them as they made the case for their continued relevance and utility amid rapid and dramatic social and political change. Lhost will conclude by outlining potential directions for future research and offer some reflections on how large-scale collaborative digital projects might achieve these aims. Dilyara Agisheva (Harvard Law School) moderated the talk. Watch the video today!