Call for Applications: Lab Manager

Summary: Reporting to the Executive Director of PIL, the incumbent is responsible for the management of the SHARIAsource Lab, including leading the team to ensure the achievement of the Lab’s goals, facilitating the development and implementation of tools and platforms, and coordinating among project stakeholders. This is a less-than-half-time position. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.

Hours: 10-14 hours per week.

Pay: $50-$60 per hour.

Deadline: August 24, 2023

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Manage SHARIAsource Lab:

  • Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of digital tools and platforms
  • Advise on strategy for the development of digital tools and platforms with a focus on integration of AI and machine learning capabilities to support academic research
  • Take an active role in coordinating all activities of the SHARIAsource Lab
  • Oversee the creation of appropriate internal and public-facing documentation necessary and helpful for the development, maintenance, and use of PIL applications and websites
  • Coordinate with managers of programmatic and publishing branches of PIL to achieve overall PIL objectives
  • Identify performance indicators and supporting program metrics, in partnership with the team, and ensure that systems are in place to support reporting to Executive Director and Faculty Director
  • Work collaboratively with PIL staff and faculty as well as stakeholders from other collaborating partners both at Harvard and beyond
  • Create and distribute program documents and reports, including material for use with funding applications and social media postings
  • Draft grant applications for funding of digital tools and platforms and PIL research goals
  • Other duties, as assigned, which may include occasional night or weekend duties due to program activities

Support Financial and Human Resource Processes:

  • Provide input to Executive Director on budgeting and strategy
  • Work with appropriate personnel to process vendor and other payments


Develop the Program Experience:

  • Support the development of effective program experiences for a range of programs with appropriate integration of digital tools and texts


Engage students:

  • Identify potential student engagement opportunities and develop, with the Executive Director, new student-related programmatic initiatives, including a student internship program
  • Develop relationships across the university to leverage existing and emerging expertise


Management Responsibilities:

  • Oversee employees and contractors responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of PIL and SHARIAsource applications and websites, including the Islamic Law Blog and the PIL website

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Four years progressively responsible experience in academic program management or similar environment
  • Sufficient expertise in programming and application development to manage and communicate with programmers and IT personnel
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; demonstrated proficiency in drafting documents for review by University-level faculty and senior staff
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects at once; outstanding organizational skills; ability to synthesize information and projects; and ability to work collegially as part of a busy team
  • Advanced proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, and others, such as InDesign and related online tools; willingness and ability to learn others quickly, as needed


Additional Qualifications:

  • Experience in higher education strongly preferred, including knowledge of professors’ and students’ expectations, experience, and needs
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong working relationships with Harvard faculty and with staff across HLS and the University
  • Familiarity with social media, cloud-based applications, and willingness to research and learn new technologies
  • Familiarity with (or ability to quickly learn) Asana for project management
  • Experience applying for grants in an academic context preferred

To apply: Interested candidates should send a resume or CV in with a brief description (3-5 sentences) of why they are interested to Emma Reilly at <[email protected]>  with [email protected] cc’d. All materials must be in PDF format. 

Call for Applications: Managing Editor

The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is dedicated to promoting research and providing resources for the academic study of Islamic law.

The Program in Islamic Law, is seeking a Managing Editor to assist with management of the submission and review pipeline. Our Publications promote cutting-edge scholarship on Islamic law. The Harvard Series on Islamic Law at PIL (a book series with Harvard University Press), the Harvard Papers in Islamic Law occasional paper series, and the Journal in Islamic Law produce peer-reviewed scholarship. The related Journal Forum (an online companion to the Journal) and Blog (for public engagement: open access) facilitate more up-to-the minute scholarly conversation and debate on less formal platforms.

The commitment will ideally begin June 1, 2023 and end May 31, 2024, with the possibility for renewal.

The role of the Managing Editor includes:

  • Managing the intake of overviews and reviews for the various publications;
  • Soliciting project overviews and reviews in consultation with the editors of the publications;
  • Maintaining the email account, directing queries to editors as appropriate, and communicating with project directors and reviewers;
  • Keeping the submission spreadsheets for the publications updated, reflecting the status of each project based on communication with project directors and reviewers;
  • Meeting every other week with the editors to provide an update on the submission and review pipeline.

We anticipate that this is a commitment of approximately 10 hours/week, as the workload of the publications ebbs and flows with the rhythms of the academic year and summer. Managing editor tasks can be done on a flexible timeline, but we need a collaborator who can commit to dividing their work over the week to ensure that the submission and review pipeline keeps moving. This is a remote role. The Managing Editor will receive pay commensurate with experience, ranging from $45-$50 per hour.

Required Qualifications: BA required. 2 years experience in an editorial position is strongly preferred. Strong organizational skills, strong written communication skills in English. Arabic language proficiency is desired but not required.

The Managing Editor role is suited for people with working knowledge of Islamic studies (law, history, and theology) and digital humanities, regardless of the role or job title they hold (e.g., graduate students, faculty, librarians, archivists, cultural heritage workers, technologists).

Must be authorized to work in the U.S.

To apply: Interested candidates should send a resume or CV with a brief description (3-5 sentences) of why they are interested to Emma Reilly at <[email protected]>  with [email protected] cc’d.

Deadline: May 19, 2023

Program in Islamic Law Writing Prize

We are excited to announce the call for submissions for the Program in Islamic Law Writing Prize! We award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law School student writing the best paper in the field of Islamic legal studies or at the intersection of Islamic law and related fields. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, addressing any topic in Islamic legal studies, drawing on approaches of legal history, law and society, and/or comparative law.

The submission deadline is May 1, 2023 at 5:00pm ET without possibility of extension. Please direct any questions about Writing Prizes to April Pettit in the Office of Academic Affairs. For more information on how to apply, please see the Writing Prize Submission Instructions.

Data Science Fellowship Application, 2023-2024

Harvard Law School’s Program in Islamic Law is seeking a Data Science Fellow to work on various apps in the SHARIAsource Lab, a Harvard initiative designed to deploy data science tools on historical Islamic sources. The Fellow will be based at Harvard Law School, with opportunities to collaborate with various departments and partners—including the Harvard Libraries and the Library of Congress, SEAS and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the Department of History and a community of scholars and students working on similar problems in DH.

Successful forays into this data science-driven approach to the study of legal history will require building a corpus of texts from open-source online repositories; creating tools to extract, code, and map data and metadata with GIS and other means; and building algorithms that help relate key people, places, and books to one another through researcher-created data sets and linked open data. The Fellow will work on multiple components of this project. The ideal candidate will have completed a program in computer science or a related field (with a BA, MA, or PhD), have at least 3 years of experience in DH or development, have a background in RTL languages and/or interest in Islamic studies, and would benefit from spending time working in a university setting on problems at the intersection of technology and academic research.

This is a one-year term appointment. The expected start date is summer 2023, with possibilities for extension based on performance and funding. The Fellow will work closely with the PI, Professor Intisar Rabb (Professor of Law & History; Director of the Program in Islamic Law and SHARIAsource Lab at Harvard).

Basic Qualifications:

· A degree in CS at the BA/BS, MA or PhD level or higher (OR a graduate degree – MA or PhD in Islamic studies) AND experience of at least 3 years in software development is required before the start date.

· Excellent programming and problem-solving skills, as well as a solid background in structured and unstructured database design, text analysis, and machine learning.

· The Fellow must be self-directed and able to innovatively apply relevant research methods to this use case.

Highly Preferred Qualifications:

· Knowledge of Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, or another relevant ME language

· Full-stack development experience: esp. knowledge of Ruby, React, Python, front-end and back-end development and design, structured and unstructured databases

TO APPLY: Applicants should submit: 1) a CV/resume, 2) an unofficial transcript of terminal degree, 3) a cover letter describing their experience with data science, 4) a 1-2 page document describing 3 representative projects, sites, or apps together with links to any online portfolio, sites, and/or data repositories on Github or elsewhere), and 5) names and contact information of 2 references. All applications should be submitted online. Application review will begin on March 31, 2023, and applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Contact Information: Program in Islamic Law ([email protected]).

Equal Opportunity Employer: We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.

PIL–LC Research Fellowship Application, 2023-2024

In collaboration with the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is pleased to invite applications for the 2023-2024 PIL–LC Research Fellowship (due: February 15, 2023). This newly offered fellowship is designed to provide an intellectual home to promising young scholars in Islamic legal studies, to advance their research, and to contribute to the intellectual life of the Program, the greater Harvard community, and the Library of Congress community. The unique opportunity afforded by this joint fellowship award allows the selected fellow to pursue independent research on Islamic law and history that utilizes the extensive collections of the Harvard Libraries and the Library of Congress. The PIL–LC Research Fellowship award is a full-time residential fellowship at Harvard Law School (for nine months, during the academic year) and at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress (for three months, the following summer).

Successful applicants will have completed an advanced degree (JD, PhD, SJD, or the equivalent) before the start of the fellowship, and plan to pursue a scholarly research agenda in Islamic law that engages legal history, law and society, or comparative law approaches. Fellows will receive a stipend for the duration of the fellowship.

To apply for this fellowship, please submit the following materials via the research fellowship online application form by February 15, 2023:

1. a curriculum vitae

2. a research proposal consisting of

  • a single-paragraph abstract of your proposed research
  • a research statement, not to exceed 1500 words (3 single-spaced pages), and
  • a bibliography of works you have consulted that describes the proposed work during the fellowship period.

The proposal should outline research in your area of expertise or interest related to contemporary or historical issues of Islamic law that can be accomplished during the fellowship term; projects are to utilize the Harvard and Library of Congress collections to advance a novel contribution to scholarship through research in Islamic law, with a legal history, comparative law, or law and society approach.

3. an explanation of why Harvard/PIL and the Library of Congress are the required venue for your research (e.g., identification of specific Harvard/PIL resources and Library of Congress collections that are necessary to pursue the research project)

4. a writing sample of no more than 25 pages in length, in English (which can be a recent publication or unpublished work; works-in-progress are especially welcome)

5. 3 reference letters from recommenders who are to upload letters directly at the referee link.

A panel of scholars at both Harvard and the Library of Congress will review your application materials. The panel will consider your application in relation to numerous other proposals. Evaluation criteria will include:

  • The significance of the contribution that the project will make to knowledge in the field
  • The quality or the promise of quality of the work
  • The quality of the conception, definition, organization and description of the project
  • The likelihood that the applicant will complete the project
  • The appropriateness of the research for Harvard/PIL resources and the Library of Congress collections

Please ensure that your references have ample time to consider and comment on your proposal. Letters of reference are more highly regarded if they address the specific proposed activity and how well the candidate is suited to undertake it, as opposed to letters that verify character, limit comments to previous work, or make only general observations on the topic.

Following a process of committee review, applicants will be notified of decisions in March 2023.


Note:  the deadline has been extended to February 15, 2023.

SHARIAsource Lab Research Assistantships,  Fall 2022

Professor Intisar Rabb is accepting applications for Fall 2022 student research assistants for the SHARIAsource lab.

The SHARIAsource Lab will meet for six sessions this term, on four Tuesdays from 4:00-6:00PM US EST via Zoom and two noon meetings. This Lab allows students to engage emerging tools and research in the Islamic digital humanities / data science space, and to contribute to new components of three in-house data science tools:  (1) Courts & Canons – Qayyim: automated annotation and named-entity extraction from Arabic historical texts, (2) SEARCHstrata: ‘hacking the library’ to make library/metadata searches in our field more useable and precise, and (3) Courts & Canons Research: better understanding and mapping various legal canons and genres in Islamic law with the help of an online database to collaboratively organize the work. Lab sessions will last for one hour, consisting of a 15-20 demo or presentation of completed work, and 40-45 minutes of discussion or hands-on problem solving. A second hour is devoted to collaborative Lab work. The Lab will result in the production of new research and data science tools for Islamic law; it may also result in papers for those taking it for course credit. Selected work may be considered for publication on the Islamic Law Blog or the Journal of Islamic Law (research) and the SHARIAsource Hub (tools). 

TO APPLY: Interested students, including students enrolled in the Fall 2022 Islamic Law class, should apply by submitting a statement of interest in projects relating to Islamic law and data science, a CV, and transcript via application link. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until filled [and prior to Sep. 16]. Attendance at a noon organizational meeting on Sep. 13 is mandatory [by Zoom]. Students are eligible to take the Lab for 1credit. RAships may be for the Fall term (through December 31, 2022) or full year (through May 31, 2023). 

DEADLINE: September 16, by noon (EST).

2022-2023 PIL–LC Research Fellowship

In collaboration with the John W. Kluge Center at the The Library of Congress, the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is pleased to invite applications for an inaugural 2022-2023 PIL–LC Research Fellowship (due: January 31, 2022). This newly offered fellowship is designed to provide an intellectual home to promising young scholars in Islamic legal studies, to advance their research, and to contribute to the intellectual life of the Program, the greater Harvard community, and the Library of Congress community. The unique opportunity afforded by this joint fellowship award allows the selected fellow to pursue independent research on Islamic law and history that utilizes the extensive collections of the Harvard Libraries and the Library of Congress.

Apply today!