NEWS |  30 Jan 2018
Islamic Early International Law: 
An 18th Century Ottoman Declaration of War with Russia

Guest contributor Michael Talbot delineates the way a  beyānnāme (declaration) sent in 1768 by the Ottoman reʾīsül-kuttāb (chief scribe) to Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire sought to justify the Ottoman declaration of war on Russia in an Islamic law framework. The beyānnāme cast Russia's actions as a violation of treaty obligations by uses of the term  naḳẓ-ı ʿahd
G  (breaking the treaty), which in turnhas its origins from the Qurʾān. Through use of these and other related concepts, the document thus gives insight into eighteenth-century Ottoman attitudes to international law and its relationship with Islamic law.   Read more . Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
An Ottoman-Islamic Declaration of War against Russia, 1768
This document is a beyānnāme , or declaration, sent by Recāī Efendi, the Ottoman reʾīsül-kuttāb (chief scribe), to Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. It justifies the Ottoman declaration of war on Russia by casting Russia's actions as a violation of treaty obligations, giving insight into eighteenth-century Ottoman attitudes to international law and its relationship with Islamic law. Read more. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Webb v. City of Philadelphia (3d Cir. 2009): Ḥijāb with Police Uniform
In recent developments in law and religion in U.S. law, female Muslim police officer Kimberlie Webb sued the City of Philadelphia under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act. A lleging religion- and gender-based discrimination, she objected to the City barring her from wearing a headscarf ( ḥijāb ) with her police uniform, and argued that the prohibition amounted to a failure to accommodate her right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment. The City argued that the bar was consistent with Philadelphia Police Directive 78 and that allowing her to wear religious garb would cause an undue burden on the City and the Police Department, in that it would compromise a look of cohesiveness and uniformity among officers. Find out how the Courts decided the case.   Read more. Image credit: Wikimedia
Other News

SHARIAsource Book Release: Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts
ILSP: SHARIAsource's book has released the next book in the Harvard Series on Islamic law. Edited by Intisar A. Rabb and Abigail Krasner Balbale , this book presents an in-depth exploration of the administration of justice during Islam’s founding period, 632–1250 CE. Inspired by the scholarship of Roy Parviz Mottahedeh and composed in his honor, this volume brings together ten leading scholars of Islamic law to examine the history of early Islamic courts. The book is available through Harvard University Press .

SHARIAsource Visiting Fellowship: Applications Now Open
The Islamic Legal Studies Program announces the opening of applications for a Visiting Fellowship for ILSP: SHARIAsource for the 2018-2019 academic year. This fellowship provides opportunities for outstanding post-doctoral scholars and faculty from other institutions for research, writing, and scholarly engagement on Islamic law at Harvard Law School, in ways that further the broad  Program mission . We welcome applicants with a terminal degree (JD, SJD, PhD) or other comparable degree interested in spending a semester or the year working on an independent project. Topics of study can range widely, and typically bring legal history, comparative law, and law and society approaches to the study of Islamic law. The deadline to submit all application materials (including letters of recommendation) is  16 Feb 2018 . Click  here   for additional information and how to apply. Click  here  for the application. 

SHARIAsource Senior Fellowship: Applications Now Open
Senior Fellowships are designed to provide senior scholars in the field the opportunity to spend an academic year, semester, or shorter period in residence at ILSP: SHARIAsource to research a topic of his/her choice. Successful applicants will be tenured professors with at least one published book. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested scholars should send a letter of interest, including a short description of the proposed research, research period, and a CV to , with the subject heading ILSP: SHARIAsource Senior Fellowships. Details.

ILSP SHARIAsource :: Upcoming Events

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Hair and Identity in Islamic and Jewish Law: Uncovering an Unlikely Link ( TBD | Cambridge, MA). Ahmed El Shamsy,  Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will delve into the seemingly frivolous issue of male grooming practices to shed light on how the early Muslim community positioned itself and its law vis-a-vis the Jews and Jewish law.


Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society (16-19 Mar 2018 | Pittsburgh, PA). All sessions will be held at the conference hotel. The Annual Subscription Banquet will take place on Sunday evening, March 18, also at the hotel. The Program, which will be accessible online in late January 2018, will provide information on other special activities and events to take place during the meeting. Details .

Lecture :: Islamic Constitutionalism: Not Secular. Not Theocratic. Not Impossible (6 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Asifa Quraishi-Landes , Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School and SHARIAsource Senior Scholar, will explain her current project, proposing a structure for Islamic constitutionalism that is inspired by Islamic jurisprudence and Muslim history, yet designed for contemporary realities. This structure is conceptually different from the typical “Islamic state” imagined by modern political Islam movements, as it is built upon the pre-colonial separation of Muslim lawmaking power: siyasa, made by rulers, and fiqh, articulated by religious legal scholars. She will argue that popular understandings of sharia fail to see the constitutional importance of these two legal realms, largely because global discourses about Islamic government are dominated by Eurocentric concepts of law (especially religious law). Quraishi-Landes will then present a proposal for Islamic constitutionalism that will demonstrate that—if we step outside the European nation-state paradigm to see sharia as an Islamic rule of law made up of both fiqhand siyasa—an Islamic constitutionalism that is not secular and not theocratic is not impossible. Hosted by ILSP: Law and Social Change. Details.

3rd USPPIP Team Meeting and Workshop :: Maslaha, Siyasa and Good Governance: Shari’a and Society (19-20 Apr 2018 | Bergen, Norway). Key-note addresses by Professors Mohammed Fadel and Felicitas Opwis . This workshop will focus on the use of concepts such as maslaha and siyasa in Islamic discussion of reform and orthopraxy. To what degree do Islamic NGOs appeal to maslala in their activities? To what degree do Muslim thinkers today use the terms of siyasa  and maslaha in their discussions of state activities and laws in Muslim, mixed and non-Muslim states? A central concept for many state-oriented NGOs is “good governance”. This term, which may be used for accountability of the ruler, or more widely for works promoting democratic practices, is in many ways akin to “promotion of public welfare”, i.e. maslaha.   Details.

The IX Islamic Legal Studies Conference (6-9 Jun 2018 | Helsinki, Finland). Convened by the International Society for Islamic Legal Studies (ISILS), this year's conference will be held under the auspices of the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, Finland. The conference will be divided into two parts. In the first, which will take place in Helsinki on June 6, a keynote address and an invited panel of five speakers will present on “Islamic Law and the Relationship between Ruler and Ruled.”  Details.

Annual Meeting on Law and Society (7-10 Jun 2018 | Toronto, Canada). The Law and Society Association and the Canadian Law and Society Association hope that their joint meeting, Law at the Crossroads: Le Droit À La Croisée Des Chemins , in Toronto will be creative and fruitful, in keeping with the traditional use of this land as a gathering place, and that visitors to the area will take the opportunity to make new connections not only with one another but also with diverse local communities. Details .

20th General Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (22-28 Jul 2018 | Fukuoka, Japan). A week-long conference on topics of comparative law, including workshops, round tables, and lunch meetings. A forum for younger scholars will also be held. Details .

The RCSL-SDJ Lisbon Meeting 2018: “Law and Citizenship Beyond The States” (10-13 Sep 2018 | Lisbon). The conference will discuss, among other topics of sociology of law and justice, the contribution of law to the power of citizens, at a time of increasing competition between state law, once the main source of people’s rights, and multiple global and local normativities. Details .


Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at the Yale Law School Fellowship (2018 - 2019 | New Haven, CT). The Abdallah S. Kamel Center at the Yale Law School for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization invites applications for its 2018-2019 research fellowships. The fellowships are designed to bring promising junior scholars to the Law School in order to advance their academic research relating to Islamic law and civilization and to contribute to the intellectual life of the Law School and Yale University more broadly. Applications due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

Conference Call for Papers: The Reach of Empire – The Early Islamic Empire at Work (11-13 Oct 2018 | Hamburg, Germany). As the ERC project “The Early Islamic Empire at Work – The View from the Regions Toward the Center” nears its end, its final conference invites participants to consider the reach of the early Islamic Empire from the 7th to the 10th centuries CE. Abstracts due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

American Institute for Maghrib Studies: Annual Grants Program (2018-2019). The American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) is pleased to announce its Annual Grants Program for the 2018-2019 cycle. The program offers short and long term grants to U.S. scholars interested in conducting research on North Africa in any Maghrib country, specifically Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, or Tunisia. Applications due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

Call for Papers: Conference on Religious Marriages in the Mediterranean (20-21 Mar 2018 | Msida, Malta). This multidisciplinary conference seeks to bring together researchers who have engaged in research on religious marriages in the Mediterranean. Papers may focus on, but are not limited to, one or
more of the following themes: 1. Exploring the legal and social interaction between religious and civil marriages in the Mediterranean, whether contemporary or historical perspective (colonial and postcolonial). 2. Investigating the non-apparent connections between different religions within and without marriage legislation (Sunni, Shia, Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, Jewish, Hindu…), including papers on
mixed marriages. 3. How human/civil rights discourses blend and/or conflict with other forms of theological, moral and/or customary discourses on religious marriages. 4. Diverse ways of concluding and/or celebrating religious marriages in the Mediterranean. 5. Problematization and politicization of religious marriages in the Mediterranean. Organized by the University of Malta, University of Amsterdam, and George Mason University. Abstracts due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

Digital Editions, Digital Corpora and New Possibilities for the Humanities in the Academy and Beyond (16-27 Jul 2018 | Boston, MA). The Perseus Digital Library Project at Tufts University is proud to host a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. The Institute will allow participants to spend two weeks exploring a range of advanced new methods for annotating textual sources and to learn how to use these technologies to create state-of-the-art digital editions and multi-layer corpora. Applications due 1 Feb 2018 . Details .

Call for Abstracts: 2018 Southwest Graduate Conference in Middle Eastern and North African Studies (22-23 Mar 2018 | Tucson, AZ). This conference is titled Examining Novel Approaches within Diverse Disciplines, and aims to strengthen ties between academic disciplines, provide a platform for graduate students to present their research projects and exchange ideas, and create a network of emerging scholars spanning a variety of fields. The organizers encourage abstract submissions not only from students within Middle Eastern and North African Studies programs, but also from Linguistics, Literature, German Studies, Law, LGBT/Queer Studies, Journalism, Gender and Women Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Health, Religious Studies, Sociology, Translation, Anthropology, Economic, Education, Geography, History, Music, and other studies related to the Middle East and North Africa from approximately the 6th century to the present (and beyond). Abstracts due 5 Feb 2018 . Details .

Call for Abstracts :: 2018 Gulf Research Meeting: Fintech, Digital Currency and the Future of Islamic Finance in the GCC- Strategy, Operational and Regulatory Issues (31 Jul 3 Aug 2018 | Cambridge, MA). In the GCC, Fintech is yet to ­find its feet, despite several digital transformation drives initiated by the regional governments in the UAE and Bahrain. In comparison to conventional ­finance, Fintech’s penetration into Islamic fi­nance institutions (IFIs) in the GCC is still in its very early stages. This workshop aims to highlight, examine and address key strategic, operational and regulatory issues about future market positioning, product structure and placement, delivery channels, and customer requirements for GCC’s IFIs. The workshop will also deliberate on the present and likely future regulatory environment surrounding technology and financial institutions for the GCC block. Abstracts due 10 Feb 2018 . Details.

Call for Papers: MESA’s 52nd Annual Meeting (15-18 Nov 2018 | San Antonio, TX). Many of the problems that concern scholars of the Middle East transcend national and regional boundaries. Contemporary concerns about global warming, environmental degradation, migration and refugees, social movements, human rights and humanitarianism, global economic policy, intellectual networks and cultural exchange—both in their present and historical incarnations—can only be addressed fully if social scientists and humanists expand their vision beyond the constructed boundaries that have all too often constricted it. MESA welcomes paper and panel submissions in early 2018 that respond to this theme. Submissions are due 15 Feb 2018 . Details.

Applications Open: A.J. Meyer Fellowship (2018-2019 | TBD). The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University announces a scholarship in the amount of $2,500 for a Harvard undergraduate or graduate student who will enroll in a full time intensive Arabic language summer program in an Arabic speaking country. Absolute beginners will not be considered. Preference will be given to students who study the Arab world and have at least one full year of formal Arabic at Harvard. Upon the completion of the study sponsored by this grant, the student is required to present a two- to five-page report on their study/research, to Dr. Granara at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Applications due 23 Feb 2018 . Details .

Applications Open: Baldy Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies 2018 (2018-2019 | Buffalo, NY). The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy  at the State University of New York at Buffalo plans to award several fellowships to scholars pursuing important topics in law, legal institutions, and social policy. Applications are invited from junior and senior scholars from law, the humanities, and the social sciences. Applications due 28 Feb 2018 . Details .

Uses of the Past in Islamic Legal Thought and Practice: Summer School (8-14 Jul 2018 | Exeter, UK). The Understanding Shari`a Project is organising an all-expenses paid summer school for the 7-14th July on the project theme of ‘uses of the past’ in Islamic Law, to be hosted by the University of Exeter. The deadline for applications is February 28th. Anyone in the final 18 months of their PhD, or within 18 months of the completion of their degree, is most welcome to apply. Participant expenses will be covered from the project budget (including food, board and flights as necessary). Applications due 28 Feb 2018 . Details .

Call for Papers: Fifth World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) (16-22 Jul 2018 | Seville, Spain). The Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation calls for submissions for the fifth edition of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies. WOCMES is the biggest encounter of world experts on disciplines related to this vast region whether contemporary or ancient. The Congress takes place every four years in a different capital. The fifth edition will be organised by the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation in collaboration with the University of Seville whose headquarters will serve as the main venue for the event. Proposals are due 28 Feb 2018 . Details.

Law and Social Inquiry’s 2018 Annual Graduate Student Paper Competition (1 Mar 2018). The editors of Law & Social Inquiry are pleased to announce our annual competition for the best journal-length paper in the field of law and social science written by a graduate or law student. Law & Social Inquiry publishes empirical and theoretical studies of sociolegal processes from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. LSI invites direct submissions from graduate and law students and nominations of student work from faculty. The author must be a graduate student or law student at the time the paper was written and when submitted. Faculty nominations should include a short description along with the paper and contact details for the student. Submissions will be evaluated by our editors.  The winning submission will be sent to selected scholars for advisory reviews to aid with revisions prior to publication. All submissions (direct and faculty nominated) are weighted equally in the competition. The winning paper will be published in Law & Social Inquiry and the author(s) will receive a total cash prize of $500 (US). Entries must be received by 1 Mar 2018 . Details .

18th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists on “International and Transnational Crimes” (27 May–4 Jun 2018 | Siracusa, Italy). ISISC is glad to announce that the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights – the new public name adopted by the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) – is organizing its 18th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists on “International and Transnational Crimes”, dedicated to the memory of prof. M. Cherif Bassiouni (1937-2017). The Siracusa Institute will select 60 participants who should have a university degree, ideally in law or with some studies in law, and be 35 years of age or under. Provision may be made for auditors who do not fulfil these conditions. Furthermore, the Institute will offer 10 scholarships to applicants from Developing and Less Developed Countries.   Applications due 4 Apr 2018 . Details .

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