January 31, 2022Faith in the Law
In the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World, led by Professor Kristen Stilt, innovation is fueled through its robust visiting fellow program and related programming, which attract both established and emerging scholars.
In the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World, led by Professor Kristen Stilt, innovation is fueled through its robust visiting fellow program and related programming, which attract both established and emerging scholars, writes HLS Corespondent Erin Peterson in an article published today, which explores how four distinct programs at HLS pursue research and address current topics linked to the intersection of religion and law.
Topics that fellows and speakers have addressed in their work have included everything from LGBTQ issues and migrant rights to animal-related and environmental issues. “These are not conventional topics in Islamic legal studies,” says Stilt, “which is exactly why we think it is so important to foster them here. Our program supports innovative, cutting-edge ideas; provides a space where people feel comfortable taking intellectual risks and testing ideas; and brings together a cohort of fellows who encourage each other to do the best work possible.”
For Andrew Bush, a visiting fellow for the program in spring 2020 and spring 2021, it deeply influenced his research on the ways that Iraqi law, and earlier Ottoman law, adjudicate questions of marriage and divorce for Muslims. “PLS gave me the time and space to think patiently with others,” he says. “I engaged with scholars trained in anthropology, history, and law, as well as scholars working on Islamic literature. The office space we shared, and then even the virtual space we shared as the pandemic set in, allowed for extended engagement, sharing works-in-progress at various stages of development, and follow-up conversations over the long term.”
Notable projects: Stilt’s latest book project is “Halal Animals: Food, Faith, and the Future of Planetary Health.” Other scholars have focused on issues including gender and women’s rights, marriage and intimacy, and free speech and identity politics.
In her words: “We think of this program as a space to incubate innovative research that has contemporary relevance and an impact in the world, and we complement our scholarship with events and convenings that engage our students and prepare them for careers in the field.” –Salma Waheedi
You can read the full article in Harvard Law Today.