Faculty & Staff
Professor Intisar A. Rabb is a Professor of Law, Professor of History, and the Faculty Director of the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School. She has held appointments as a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as an Associate Professor at NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and at NYU Law School, and as an Assistant Professor at Boston College Law School. She previously served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as a Temple Bar Fellow in London with the American Inns of Court, and as a Carnegie Scholar for her work on contemporary Islamic law.
In 2015, in partnership with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, support from the Luce and MacArthur Foundations, and collaborations with myriad scholars and institutions, she launched SHARIAsource – an online portal designed to provide universal access to the world’s information on Islamic law and history, and to facilitate new research with the use of AI tools.
She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, including the monograph, Doubt in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press 2015), the edited volumes, Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (with Abigail Balbale, Harvard University Press, 2017) and Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought (with Michael Cook et al., Palgrave 2013), and numerous articles on Islamic constitutionalism, on Islamic legal canons, and on the early history of the Qur'an text.
She received a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MA and PhD from Princeton University. She has conducted research in Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere.
Nataly Castro is the Program Coordinator for the Program in Islamic Law.
Kamil is a software developer at End Point who developed SHARIAsource's Arabic OCR platform alongside improving the SHARIAsource Portal. He specializes in Ruby on Rails development, including Spree e-commerce sites, as well as front-end development using various tools and libraries.
Kamil has worked with MongoDB, CouchDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. He is also proficient with C#/.NET, Objective-C, and Haskell.
He is an author of Open Source projects: an Elixir-based mailing library, and a Ruby-based email address validator.
Kamil strongly believes in the philosophy of “constant never-ending improvement”, and is excited by the challenge of delivering greater and greater value in long-term relationships with his clients.
Sebastian Diaz is the Berkman Klein Center's Directory of Technology and he coordinates and advises the Program in Islamic Law on its digital projects. He guides the Berkman Klein Center's IT enterprise through a landscape of ever-changing technology and priorities. Sebastian manages its technology group, which consists of a Harvard renowned development team, an infrastructure and workplace computing team, and a technical project management team.
Gayle Fischer joined the Harvard Law School Library in 2016 as the Librarian for Islamic Law. She is primarily responsible for the selection, cataloging, and management of materials for the Islamic and Middle Eastern law collections, in addition to providing reference and instruction services. As a member of the Middle East Librarians Association, she serves on the Web and Social Media Committee and the Metrics Working Group. She obtained her B.A. in Philosophy and Arabic Language and Literature from Portland State University and holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and an M.S.I.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. Her professional and research interests include digital scholarship/digital humanities, ontology(-ies), and Arabic poetry.
Jessica Fjeld is a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and serves as the Clinic’s Assistant Director. She is also a Lecturer on Law at HLS. She works in diverse areas including intellectual property, media and entertainment (particularly public media), freedom of expression, and law and policy relating to government and nonprofit entities. She works with SHARIAsource on copyright law and matters of intellectual property and technology.
She received a JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent Scholar and Managing Editor of the Journal of Law and the Arts; an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts; and a BA from Columbia University.
Elizabeth Hess is the Executive Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS). In partnership with the IQSS Faculty Director, Gary King, she is responsible for overall strategic, programmatic, and financial management of IQSS, working across the organization to ensure delivery of first-class research and administrative infrastructure to support its constituents. In addition, she oversees programmatic activities including software development projects, cloud computing resources, internal and external collaborations, and new program development.
Elizabeth graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned a masters degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She is actively pursuing a Sustainability Degree from Harvard University’s Extension School.
Jocelyn Kennedy is the Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Library where she oversees the day to day operations of the law library. An expert in legal research, she is interested in the impact the evolution of search platforms has on the habits of legal researchers. She is also researching the disparity in promotion trajectory between men and women in the field of librarianship, a workforce dominated by females. Prior to joining the Harvard Law School Library, Kennedy served as the Library Director at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and was the faculty research librarian at the University of Michigan. Prior to her career in librarianship, she served as a congressional staff and was a law clerk for the New Hampshire Superior Court. She has a JD from the University of New Hampshire and an MLIS from the University of Washington.
Mariam Sheibani is a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Program in Islamic Law and Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. She received her PhD in Islamic Thought from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her research interests are in Islamic intellectual and social history, with a focus on law, ethics, gender, and contemporary Islamic thought. She serves as Lead Blog Editor for the Islamic Law Blog (formerly the SHARIAsourceBLOG) based at Harvard Law School.
Her first book project, Islamic Legal Philosophy: Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām and the Ethical Turn in Medieval Islamic Law, examines how Muslim jurists from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries addressed salient questions of legal philosophy and ethics, leading them to develop competing legal methodologies and visions of the law. In particular, she traces the development of a purposive, analytical, and socially responsive legal discourse that originated among Shāfiʿī jurists in Khorasan and continued to evolve in Ayyubid Damascus and Mamluk Cairo in subsequent centuries. The study centers on a prominent Damascene heir of Khorasani Shāfiʿism, ʿIzz al-Dīn b. ʿAbd al-Salām, a pivotal figure in the development of Islamic legal philosophy, ethics, and legal maxims (qawāʿid fiqhiyya). Learn more about her book project and other current research projects.
In 2019-2020, Mariam is teaching two graduate seminars at Harvard: Islamic Ethics: Between Reason, Revelation, and Reform (Fall 2019) and The Thought and Legacy of al-Ghazālī (Spring 2020). Prior to her doctoral studies, she earned a BA in Public Affairs and Policy Management, an MA in Legal Studies, and a second an MA in Islamic Thought. She has conducted research in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, the UK, and West Africa.
Dana Lee is a research fellow at the Program in Islamic Law for the 2019-2020 academic year. She received her Ph.D. from the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University this year and previously received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She is currently working on her first book project based on her dissertation entitled, At the Limits of Law: Necessity in Islamic Legal History, Second/Eighth through Tenth/Sixteenth Centuries.
William P. Alford is the Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies and the Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a scholar of Chinese law and legal history. His books include To Steal a Book is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization (Stanford University Press 1995), Raising the Bar: The Emerging Legal Profession in East Asia (Harvard East Asian Legal Studies 2007), 残疾人法律保障机制研究 (A Study of Legal Mechanisms to Protect Persons with Disabilities) (Huaxia Press 2008, with Wang Liming and Ma Yu’er), Prospects for the Professions in China (Routledge 2011, with William Kirby and Kenneth Winston) and Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation (Springer 2018, with Jerome Cohen and Lo Chang-fa).
Professor Alford is the founding Chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability which provides pro bono services on issues of disability in China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam and several other nations. He is Lead Director and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International (which serves individuals with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 jurisdictions around the world). In 2008, Special Olympics honored him for his work for persons with intellectual disabilities in China.
Professor Alford was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Geneva in 2010 and has been an honorary professor or fellow at Renmin University of China, Zhejiang University, the National College of Administration, and the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Science. Among other honors are the inaugural O’Melveny & Myers Centennial Award, the Kluwer China Prize, the Qatar Pearls of Praise Award, an Abe (Japan) Fellowship, and the Harvard Law School Alumni Association Award. In 2008, he was a finalist for Harvard Law School’s Sacks-Freund Teaching Award.
Professor Alford has delivered endowed lectureships at leading universities around the world and serves on university advisory boards and the editorial boards of learned journals in several jurisdictions. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on US-China relations, Professor Alford has been a dispute resolution panelist under the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has served as a consultant or advisor to multilateral organizations, various offices of the United States government, members of Congress, foreign governments, foundations, companies and not-for-profit organizations.
Professor Alford is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A.), the University of Cambridge (LL.B.), Yale University (graduate degrees in History and in East Asian Studies) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).
Rashid Alvi is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Muslim Advocates. Mr. Alvi currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer and V.P. of Operations at NovoPath, Inc. Mr. Alvi formerly served as Managing Director of the Harvard Capital Group. Prior to his post at the Harvard Capital group, Mr. Alvi was the Deputy Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP) at Harvard Law School. Prior to Harvard Capital Group and ILSP, at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, Mr. Alvi specialized in mergers and acquisitions. He then moved to Wall Street, working at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. He subsequently joined Acro Healthcare, LLC, a privately held start-up company in the specialty pharmaceuticals industry, in an executive capacity. After helping the company grow, Mr. Alvi advised on its sale to Lincare, Inc., a public company. Following the sale of Acro, Mr. Alvi worked as a principal at a boutique business advisory firm, where he continues to consult from time to time. Mr. Alvi holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, an M.A. from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. from Binghamton University.
Christopher T. Bavitz is the WilmerHale Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is also Managing Director of HLS’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. And, he is a Faculty Co-Director of the Berkman Klein Center. Chris teaches the Counseling and Legal Strategy in the Digital Age and Music & Digital Media seminars, and he concentrates his practice activities on intellectual property and media law (particularly in the areas of music, entertainment, and technology).
He oversees many of the Cyberlaw Clinic’s projects relating to copyright, speech, advising of startups, and the use of technology to support access to justice, and he serves as the HLS Dean’s Designate to Harvard’s Innovation Lab. Chris's research and related work at the Berkman Klein Center addresses intermediary liability and online content takedown regimes as well as regulatory, ethical, and governance issues associated with technologies that incorporate algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Naz K. Modirzadeh is the founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC). In May 2016, she was appointed as a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. In the Spring 2019 term, she will teach International Humanitarian Law/Laws of War, Counterterrorism and International Law, and Public International Law. At HLS PILAC, Modirzadeh is responsible for overall direction of the Program, contributing to its cutting-edge research initiatives and briefing senior decision-makers.
Sarah Thomas joined Harvard as vice president for the Harvard Library in August 2013. In this role, she has overall responsibility for the Harvard Library in close collaboration with the Library Board, the Faculty Advisory Council and the Library Leadership Team. Thomas also serves as the University Librarian and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton, 2013).
With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded the international blogging community Global Voices. It showcases news and opinions from citizen media in more than 150 nations and 30 languages, publishing editions in 20 languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces.
In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer organization that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously, he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. Zuckerman blogs at ethanzuckerman.com/blog. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College, and as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.
Rosie Bsheer is an historian of the modern Middle East and Assistant Professor of History at Harvard University. Her teaching and research interests center on Arab intellectual and social movements, petro-capitalism and state formation, and the production of historical knowledge and commemorative spaces.
William A. Graham is Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies (Faculty of Arts and Sciences). Graham served as Dean of Harvard Divinity School from 2002 to 2012, when he stepped down to return to research and teaching. His scholarly work has focused on early Islamic religious history and textual traditions (Qur’an and Hadith), and on topics in the global history of religion. His book Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam was awarded the American Council of Learned Societies History of Religions Prize in 1978. He is the author of Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (1987) and Islamic and Comparative Religious Studies(2010). He has co-authored three books and is also the author of numerous articles and reviews. He is a summa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds honorary doctorates from UNC and Lehigh University.
Baber Johansen was appointed Professor of Islamic Religious Studies at Harvard Divinity School in 2005. Prior to his appointment, he served as Directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre d’étude des normes juridiques), Paris (1995–2005), and Professor for Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (1972–1995). In 2006 he was appointed an affiliated professor at Harvard Law School and acting director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program from 2006 to 2010. In 2007 he was affiliated with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and from July 2010 to June 2013, he was the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is also a faculty associate of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and a member of its Executive Committee.
Ousmane Kane, a scholar of Islamic studies and comparative and Islamic politics, joined Harvard Divinity School in July 2012 as the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at HDS. Since 2002, he was an associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the African Studies Association of North America and the Council for the Development of Social and Economic Research in Africa. Kane studies the history of Islamic religious institutions and organizations since the eighteenth century, and he is engaged in documenting the intellectual history of Islam in Africa.
Gary King is the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University -- one of 22 with the title of University Professor, Harvard's most distinguished faculty position. He is based in the Department of Government (in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) and serves as Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. King develops and applies empirical methods in many areas of social science research, focusing on innovations that span the range from statistical theory to practical application.
Cemal Kafadar is the Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University. Prof. Kafadar is interested in the social and cultural history of the Middle East and southeastern Europe in the late medieval/early modern era. He teaches courses on Ottoman history, urban space, travel, popular culture, history and cinema. His latest publications include “How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: the Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul” and “Evliya Celebi in Dalmatia: an Ottoman Traveler’s Encounters with the Arts of the Franks.”
Asim Ijaz Khwaja is the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Co-Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD). His areas of interest include economic development, finance, education, political economy, institutions, and contract theory/mechanism design. His research combines extensive fieldwork, rigorous empirical analysis, and microeconomic theory to answer questions that are motivated by and engage with policy. His recent work ranges from understanding market failures in emerging financial markets to examining the private education market in low-income countries. He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 to pursue research on how religious institutions impact individual beliefs. Khwaja received BS degrees in economics and in mathematics with computer science from MIT and a PhD in economics from Harvard.
Tarek Masoud is the Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on the role of religion in the Muslim world’s political development. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014), the co-author of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015), as well as of several articles and book chapters. He is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy, and the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros foundation, among others. He holds an AB from Brown and a PhD from Yale, both in political science.
Roy Parviz Mottahedeh is the Gurney Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1987 to 1990 and founded the Harvard Middle East and Islamic Review as a medium for Harvard students and teachers to publish their work. He was elected a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a series editor for several academic publishers. In 1994 he was appointed Gurney Professor of History. Together with Angeliki Laiou he co-edited The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World (2001). His book Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence, published in 2003, studies the philosophy of Islamic law as taught in Shi’ite seminaries. Professor Mottahedeh received an honorary degree from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 2006. He served as Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard from 2006 to 2011.
Professor Mottahedeh is the author of numerous articles that demonstrate his wide range of interests from the Abbasid period in the eighth century to Islamic revival movements of the present day. One of his most widely distributed articles, which has been translated into many languages, was his critique of Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations. Professor Mottahedeh’s other publications consider such diverse topics as the transmission of learning in the Muslim world, the social bonds that connected people in the early Islamic Middle East, the theme of “wonders” in The Thousand and One Nights, the concept of jihad in the early Islamic period, and perceptions of Persepolis among later Muslims.
Malika Zeghal is the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in contemporary Islamic thought and life at Harvard and studies religion through the lens of Islam and power. She is particularly interested in Islamist movements and in the institutionalization of Islam in the Muslim world, with special focus on the Middle East and North Africa in the postcolonial period and on Muslim diasporas in North America and Western Europe. She has more general interests in the circulation and role of religious ideologies in situations of conflict and/or dialogue. She has published a study of central religious institutions in Egypt, Gardiens de l’Islam, (1996), and a volume on Islam and politics in Morocco, Islamism in Morocco: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Electoral Politics (2008), which has won the French Voices-Pen American Center Award. She is currently working on a book on states, secularity, and Islam in the contemporary Arab world.