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Lunch Talk :: Tribal Law as Islamic Law: The Berber Example

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Lawrence Rosen, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Princeton University. 

Tribes are characterized less by their structural forms and purported evolutionary history than by their cultural orientations and shape-shifting capability. In many parts of MENA and Asia these qualities have also contributed to tribes’ amalgamation of Islamic law. Using as the main example the Berbers of Morocco, Professor Rosen will look at the parallels between local custom and Islamic prescription, procedural techniques and substantive rules to consider how the two legal systems have indigitated and why, from the Berbers’ perspective, they regarded their approach as Islamic law rather than something set alongside Islamic law.