Guney-Ruebenacker headshot

Havva Guney-Ruebenacker Visiting Fellow

Havva G. Guney-Ruebenacker is jointly with PLS as a Visiting Fellow and with the Animal Law & Policy Program as a Farmed Animal Law & Policy Fellow. While at HLS this academic year, Guney-Ruebenacker’s research will focus on halal slaughtering in Sunni and Shi’ite Islamic law, comparing the cases of Turkey and Iran. Guney-Ruebenacker received her SJD from Harvard Law School and her dissertation is titled “An Islamic Legal Realist Critique of the Traditional Theory of Slavery, Marriage and Divorce in Islamic Law.” Her research and teaching areas include Islamic law, American family law, contracts, international human rights law, comparative law, European Union law, gender and law, legal history, legal theory, religion and law.

Guney-Ruebenacker’s doctoral research focused on classical Islamic law and modern Islamic legal reforms in the area of slavery and family law with a comparative examination of modernization of American family law in the area of no-fault divorce and its economic consequences. In particular, her work examines the ways in which the institution of slavery influenced the structure and content of traditional Islamic legal theory of marriage and divorce, develops a new theory of Islamic Legal Realism that challenges the historical legitimacy of both slavery and women’s inequality in traditional Islamic law, and advances a concrete reform proposal for divorce and post-divorce economic rights of women in Islamic law.

As a Visiting Assistant Professor, Guney-Ruebenacker taught comparative family law and Islamic law at Boston University School of Law, and was a teaching fellow at Harvard College, Harvard Law School and Harvard Divinity School for classes in American constitutional history, comparative family law and Islamic law. She worked as a researcher for the honorable judge Lucius Caflisch at the European Court of Human Rights and at the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva. Guney-Ruebenacker served as a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies at University of Oxford and at Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard.

Guney-Ruebenacker studied both major schools of Islamic law (Sunni and Shiite) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and received a BA in Law from the University of Tehran. She holds an LLM degree from Harvard and also an LLM in European Union law and European legal history from University of Cambridge. She is fluent in English, Turkish, Arabic, and Farsi.