NEWS29 August 2016
SHARIAsource and the Need for Islamic Digital Humanities: A Response to “A Political History of Digital Humanities”
in the LA Review of Books

Editor-in-chief Intisar Rabb brings SHARIAsource and the study of Islamic law into the greater discussion of technology and the humanities. She responds to recent arguments made against digital humanities. In a recent article in the LA Review of Books, Daniel Allington and his colleagues suggest that digital platforms may distract from text-based analyses. But those very platforms may remind readers of the difficulties some fields, such as Islamic law, face in accessing these very texts. Scholars and researchers of Islamic law still face a dire need for greater accessibility, and the "digital humanities" projects that aim to give it – like SHARIAsource and Brown University’s Digital Islamic Humanities project – assuage these difficulties by bringing together experts, making way for more comparative research, and helping to facilitate qualitative and quantitative research results. Read more. Image credit:

Intellectual Property for Islamic Law? Deriving Similar Patent Regimes from John Locke and the Qurʾān  
When it comes to new technology and Islamic law, it turns out that the principles of Western intellectual property law are quite similar to Islamic property and contract law, according to Turkey editor Gizem Orbey. On her analysis, the latter permits the same applications as the former. Consider John Locke's considerations on property in his Second Treatise on Government. They compare closely to the Qurʾān’s proclamation that, although all property belongs to God in its natural state, people may create ownership by making something useful through labor. Because a patent or license can be considered a contract between a state operating as an individual and the inventor, copyright and ownership laws would, she argues, be in line with the Islamic law of property. Read more. Image credit: SlideShare
New Trends in Regulating Risk in Islamic Finance 

Innovation occurs as well in ways less tangible than what is traditionally defined as 'technology,' as UAE editor Paul Lee's piece on Islamic finance suggests. Lee details how U.S. and U.K. courts have attempted to marry Western and Islamic finance without compromising the principle of fair competition. Unlike patents or licenses, however, financial contracts must prioritize uncertain results, acknowledged by Islamic legal systems as gharar and Western court systems' approaches to regulation. Partly due to this uncertainty, and different strategies in accounting for it, an optimal compromise between Islamic and Western finance remains to be created. As of yet, such regulatory inventions occur on an ad hoc basis. Read more. Image credit: Raconteur

Other News

Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places: Medieval Legal History and the Problem of the Sources (12 Sep 2016, 5pm | Barker Center, Thompson Room, Harvard University). HLS Professors Elizabeth Kamali and Intisar Rabb will be speaking at the seminar on alternative sources for Islamic and other medieval law at the Medieval Studies Workshop and Reception this Fall.

American Society of Legal History Annual Meeting (27-30 Oct 2016 | Toronto, Canada). Ottoman editor Will Smiley and editor-in-chief Intisar Rabb will present at the ASLH Annual Meeting on a panel addressing "Borderlands of Islamic Law: The Ottoman Empire and its Neighbors." Also at ASLH, Egyptian law and society historian Khaled Fahmy will present a paper that explores "Global Forensics: Medico-Legal History in Asia and Africa" on a panel chaired by Mitra Sharafi. See preliminary program.

Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (17-20 Nov 2016 | Boston, MA). MESA’s annual meeting will host a range of panels on Islamic law, including  Policing and Punishment in the Making of the Modern Middle East,  Is Saudi foreign policy 'Islamic'?, "Islamic Religious Authority between the Arab World and Europe: Multi-tasked and Multi-tasking Imams" (Denmark contributor Niels Valdemar Vinding will be presenting),  International Law, Sovereignty and Subjecthood in the Late Ottoman Empire (Ottoman editor Will Smiley will be a discussant),  Legal Contests & Disputes, Part ILaw as Social History in the Late Ottoman EraLegal Contests & Disputes, Part 2 See full preliminary program.

"Changes in God’s Law: An Inner-Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Law." Nadjma Yassaril's research group at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law is seeking scholars of Islamic family law to fill a post-doctoral position available starting in October/November 2016. Read more. 

“Law as Religion, Religion as Law” (05-07 June 2017 | Jerusalem). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has issued a call for papers to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines (including law, religious studies, philosophy, history, political science and other relevant fields). Call for papers.

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