Courses Related to Islamic Law
Harvard Law School Courses
Professor William Alford, Professor Intisar Rabb
This workshop is intended to provide students with the opportunity to enmesh themselves in scholarly writing in the areas of comparative and international law (with more emphasis on the former), by exploring challenges scholars in these fields face and bringing to the workshop a range of scholars engaged in some of the most interesting new work in them. Generally, our invited speakers–some from law and some from other disciplines–will present work in progress. Our focus will be on the intellectual underpinnings of the fields rather than hands-on practice. Students in the class will be required to submit four brief “reflection” pieces commenting on the papers to be presented and will also have the opportunity to question the presenter during the session. Some sessions will be reserved for meetings without outside speakers.
Professor Kristen Stilt
This course will focus on human rights advocacy in the Muslim world. After providing an introduction to Islamic law, the course will address difficult questions at the intersection of human rights law and some interpretations of Islamic law. Topics to be examined include religious freedom, sexual relations and sexuality, domestic relations, the rights of children, and public dress and behavior. The course will focus on how human rights organizations—international, regional, and local—have worked on cases in these areas of concern, and will consider how such organizations can most effectively address issues that involve religious belief and practice.
Professor Kristen Stilt
This course will introduce students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals (“animals”), including companion animals, farm animals (with a particular focus on factory farms), animals used in the context of entertainment (such as zoos and aquaria), animals used in scientific experimentation, and wild animals. The course will focus mainly on the U.S. but will also include significant attention to the laws of other countries and to international law.
The course will also engage with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law—why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of “animal rights” and “animal welfare”?