Congratulations Class of 2021! A Remote Year in Review: Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Going remote last March first gave us the opportunity to be innovative as we shifted online, expanding our many resources and programming to an even wider community. As we conclude a full year during these unprecedented times, we want to reflect on all of the exciting programs and events that came to light this year, some of which are still underway at the Program in Islamic Law.

The start of the term began with the Roundtable on Islamic Legal History and Historiography on the Islamic Law Blog. From start to finish, we published 21 essays, culminating in a live webinar that highlighted the diverse approaches to questions of method and meaning in Islamic law and legal history. Soon thereafter, we kicked off the year-long monthly workshops on Islamic Legal Genres monthly workshop, convened by Intisar RabbHakki Arslan, and Necmettin Kizilkaya, to explore the definitions and diversification of genres in Islamic law during the 14th to 19th centuries. This Spring has so far featured scholars Murteza BedirMohammad FadelSohail HanifAhmed El Shamsy, and Samy Ayoub, with more in the months to come. Our Islamic Law Speaker Series, which provides a forum for established and emerging scholars to talk about their recent scholarship, works-in-progress, or developments in the field, also continued this Spring with presentations by scholars Sohaib Baig and Issam Eido sharing their forthcoming scholarship.

Then there are the (particularly exciting!) data science initiatives. The SHARIAsource Portal added more curated special collections alongside its cache of primary sources of Islamic law contributed by scholar-editors and libraries around the globe. We developed two new data science tools this year— soon to be made public:  Courts & Canons (CnC) and SearchMonger— and continue collaborative work on eScriptorium and the related CorpusBuilder. These three projects result from collaborations that we believe will revolutionize the field by facilitating new research and insights into Islamic law and history. Stay tuned for summer news as we embark on exciting next steps: opening up each project to researchers, editors, and data scientists ready to join the growing community around them. First stop: check out Omar Abdel-Ghaffar and Jamie Folsom will be presenting our Courts & Canons (CnC) project at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Next: check out the Lab sessions you missed at the  Islamic Law, Data Science and AI Lab, convened by Intisar Rabb and Zahra Takshid, where scholars, students, and professionals highlighted emerging data science tools for Islamic use and watch out for news of the next Lab sessions featuring our in-house data science tools.

In short, we’ve been up to a lot! All of this has been achieved with the continuing support and engagement of both the local community – including students of the Class of 2021 –  and members of the global community, such as yourself. Thank you!


CONTENT:  Courts and Canons Database The Program of Islamic Law is currently developing a suite of digital Islamic law tools to expand access to and facilitate research in the field. The suite includes the Courts and Canons project, which is an interactive, collaborative project that places the Islamic legal tradition in a historical, socio-political, hermeneutical, and geographic context. The project allows researchers to study Islamic legal canons  as part of dynamic legal procedures spanning centuries and continents. By connecting legal canons to court cases, legal schools, scholars, rationales, and various textual sources, the project places each canon in context, allowing the researcher to record how each canon emerged and related to others. Omar Abdel-Ghaffar and Jamie Folsom will be presenting this project at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute next Tuesday, June 8th. Register for the event here.


CONTEXT:  2021 Paper Prize for Islamic Law  We at the Program in Islamic Law would like to congratulate Iqra Saleem Khan LL.M. ’21, for receiving the Dean’s Program in Islamic Law Writing Prize! Her paper is titled “Unwilling Cowives and the law of Polygamy in Pakistan” and was supervised by Professor Janet Halley, the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Despite the remote nature of the this year’s program, Khan and her classmates decided to make lemonade out of lemons in order to make the most of their LL.M experience. This summer, Khan, who focuses on feminist legal scholarship, will continue her work as a research fellow for Women Living Under Muslim Law on a project called “Women Claiming Public Space.” through which she is analyzing the Aurat March in Pakistan, an annual women’s rally Khan helped organize for the past two years. To read more about Khan, check out her Student Spotlight. We look forward to following her journey and future scholarship!


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