Kenneth Roth, “The Global Contest between Democracy and Autocracy: Less Dire Than It Seems”

Join us tomorrow February 9 at 12:30 PM EST, for the discussion “The Global Contest between Democracy and Autocracy: Less Dire Than It Seems” with Kenneth Roth. Roth has served for nearly three decades as the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations, which operates in some 100 countries. He currently holds fellowships at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Perry World House of the University of Pennsylvania.

HUID holders are invited to attend the discussion in person at WCC 2019 Milstein West B in Harvard Law School. Lunch will be provided.

The event is organized by HRP and co-sponsored by HLS Advocates for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Clinic, Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World, Harvard Human Rights Journal, the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Program in Islamic Law, and East Asian Legal Studies.

Professor Intisar Rabb, “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism [Or: Reading Law, Comparatively in American and Islamic Law]”, Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory, U.C. Berkeley

On Friday, February 3, 2023 from 12:15-2:00 p.m. PST, PIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb, will be presenting “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism [Or: Reading Law, Comparatively in American and Islamic Law]” at a Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory sponsored by the Kadish Center for Morality, Law, & Public Affairs and the Philosophy and Political Science Departments at U.C. Berkeley. The event will be held in person in room 141, Law Building, and online via Zoom.

ILSS: Marion Katz

On Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST via ZoomMarion Katz (New York University) will give a book talk on her recent publication Wives and Work: Islamic Law and Ethics before Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2022). In this book, Katz addresses the widely held assumption that classical Islamic law frees wives from any obligation to do work, and offers a new account of wives’ domestic labor that recasts the historical relationship between Islamic law and ethics. She reconstructs a complex discussion among Sunni legal scholars of the ninth to fourteenth centuries and examines its wide-ranging implications. This book sheds new light on notions of family, labor, and gender personhood as well as the interplay between legal and ethical doctrines in Islamic thought. Dilyara Agisheva (Harvard Law School) will moderate the talk. Registration is required.

Roundtable on the History of Islamic International Law

We are excited to announce our upcoming Roundtable on the History of Islamic International Law on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 from 9:00am-12:00pm EST, in a live webinar over Zoom. Organized by Intisar Rabb (Harvard Law School) and Umut Özsu (Carleton University), who are editing a volume on the subject for the Cambridge History on International Law, this Roundtable will bring together the contributing authors to that volume – all historians and legal scholars selected for their expertise on the contested status of various visions of international law from the medieval Islamic world to the Ottoman era (622-1923), spanning a variety of regions from across the globe.

Contributing scholars include Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Fahad Bishara (University of Virginia), Malika Dekkiche (University of Antwerp)Mohammad Fadel (University of Toronto)Maribel Fierro (Spanish National Research Council), Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge)Aimee Genell (University of West Georgia)Will Hanley (Florida State University)Suleiman Mourad (Smith College)Will Smiley (University of New Hampshire)Mathieu Tillier (University of Sorbonne)Joshua White (University of Virginia), and Adnan Zulfiqar (Rutgers Law School). During the Roundtable webinar, contributing scholars will reflect on and deliberate the larger themes, lingering questions, and ongoing debates surrounding the history of what we have become accustomed to calling ‘international law’. Essays previewing the Handbook and emerging from the Roundtable sessions will be published on the Islamic Law Blog.

Hermeneutics in the Age of Big Data, Yusuf Celik

On October 19th at 3:00pm EST, PIL Data Science Fellow, Dr. Yusuf Celik, will be presenting Hermeneutics in the Age of Big Data at Harvard University’s Digital Scholarship Group. Data collection and interpretation are necessary parts of any kind of scholarly research. The extent and character of the data collected by a researcher has always been dependent on the types of tools and corpora known to the researcher. With the advent of technological advancements in the fields of data science, humanities scholars now have the means to gather and discover data at a scope and rate that was unthinkable before the advent of computers. However, while humanities scholars are slowly learning and integrating these new tools in their research, they must also confront the question of how to interpret the large amount of data that they gained sudden access to. In this Discovery talk, Dr. Celik will address this question in relation to a variety of case studies within the digital study of Islamic history and law.

Dilyara Agisheva, Ukraine from Ottoman Times to Today, W’OTSAp

On Friday, September 30th, PIL Research Fellow, Dr. Dilyara Agisheva, will present “The Making of Colonial Space in Crimea in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries” at the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association’s 22nd “W’OTSAp in Ottoman and Turkish Studies” meeting. Registration is required

SHARIAsource Lab Workshop :: Ibn ʿAsākir and His History of Damascus: Named Entity Recognition and Text Reuse, Sarah Bowen Savant (The Aga Khan University)

On Tuesday September 27, 2022 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST at Lewis 214, Sarah Bowen Savant, will lead a seminar on research in progress that uses the OpenITI corpus, which corpus contains more than 10,000 works and now exceeds 2 billion words in size, to examine the question: prior to the arrival of the printing press or electricity, how were authors working in Arabic so prolific? She uses the specific case of The History of Damascus (Taʾrīkh Madīnat Dimashq) [TMD], written by ʿAlī Ibn al-ʿAsākir (d. 571/1176 ) to address the question. The TMD is the largest work in the corpus prior to 1500. Ibn ʿAsākir relied heavily on earlier scholars, whom he cites extensively. Savant explores what we can learn about his working methods by using new digital methods. While focusing on the work of Ibn ʿAsākir, the seminar seeks also to explore the possibilities and limitations of digital methods for scholars today. This event has limited registration for in-person attendance, and open registration for Zoom. It is open to Harvard affiliates. Register by September 23rd. Register here

Workshop: Islamic Perspectives on a Posthuman Future, University of Groningen, May 28, 2022

On Saturday the 28th of May, the workshop ‘Islamic Perspectives: on a posthuman future’ will be held at the Court Room, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen.

The workshop will include a submission by PIL Data Science Fellow Dr. Yusuf Celik titled “The Hermeneutics of Posthuman Futurity for Islamic Thinking: Theological and Legal Implications.”


ILSS: Irene Schneider

Join us on  Tuesday, April 12, 2022 12:00-1:00PM US EST via Zoom, where Professor Irene Schneider (Göttingen University) will speak about her new book, Debating the Law, Creating Gender: Sharia and Lawmaking in Palestine (Brill, 2021). Her book examines how family law in Palestine, despite being a controversial topic publicly debated by representatives of the state, Sharia establishment, and civil society, does not exist. It endeavors to determine why by focusing on the conceptualization of gender and analyzing “law in the making” and the shifts in debates (2012–2018). In 2012, a ruling on khulʿ-divorce was issued by the Sharia Court and was well received by civil society, but when the debate shifted in 2018 to how to “harmonize” international law with Islamic standards, the process came to a standstill. These developments and the various power relations cannot be properly understood without taking into consideration the terminology used and redefined in these debates, which this book attempts to address. Dr. Marwa Sharafeldin, visiting fellow with the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School, will serve as discussant. This event will be moderated by PIL Research Fellow, Dr. Hedayat Heikal

Irving Tragen Lecture on Comparative Law: Professor Intisar Rabb, “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism at SCOTUS and in Islamic Law”

On April 13, 2022 at 3:50- 5:00 pm (EST), PIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb will present the Irving Tragen Lecture on Comparative Law at UC Berkeley Law titled “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism at SCOTUS and in Islamic Law.”This talk will take a comparative law look at shared methods of interpretation for textualists in two very different legal systems: American law and Islamic law. The focus is on the history and use of certain legal canons– principles of interpretation that judges derive from a kind of interpretive common law and use to resolve ambiguity when confronting novel issues that the text alone does not plainly address. For reasons that a comparative law look will make clear, there is an area of shared textual/linguistic legal canons with shared features about how language works: metacanons. Recognizing them in each system and across systems can inform how best to define textual canons, and to what ends American judges should use them in an era of increased use of legal canons but decreased Court-Congress dialogue. Join the event here.