Alessandro Ferrari Visiting Fellow, ILSP: Law and Social Change
Alessandro Ferrari is Associate Professor of Law and Religion at the University of Insubria (Como and Varese), where he teaches Law and Religion in Italy and Europe, Comparative Religious Laws, and Mediterranean Islam. He is also an associated member of “Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités” at the École Pratique des Hautes Études – Centre National de la Recherche Sciéntifique in Paris. He received PhDs from the University of Milan and the University of Paris XI-Institut Catholique of Paris, and an LLB from the University of Modena. He is a member of the Islam Commission of the Italian Home Ministry and of the Islam Group of the Office for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Italian (Roman Catholic) Bishop Conference.
During his fellowship with ILSP: LSC, Ferrari plans to finalize his research about a common, interconnected Mediterranean history of what has been called, since the nineteenth century, the “right to religious freedom.” The research is divided in four main parts:
I. Muslims in Europe. The “religious lens” towards “Muslims” employed by European state legal systems. The legal status of Islam in Europe: the role of the Muslims and Muslim communities in changing and re-shaping the European model of freedom to religion. The main legal, judicial, and administrative tools that have been developed in response to the Muslim presence in the Old Continent. The effects of the “double transnationalism” of European Muslims (religious/community and state-based). The relationship between EU/ECHRs and single “state-nations.”
II. Diversities on the Southern Shore. The implications of globalization for the definition of a right to freedom of religion in Southern Mediterranean countries: constitutional, legislative and practical reforms. The current debates and the influence of the Northern shore.
III. The Redefinition of Citizenship on Northern and Southern Shores. Declarations and charters of values on the two shores, from the Marrakech Declaration to Cairo and Beirut Declarations, the Bahrain statement, as compared with the Italian, French, and German values charters.
IV. General Conclusions: the role of a refashioned right to freedom of religion in a post-modern and post-secular global order. A redefinition of this right in a period of porosity between religious and secular borders. The role of this right within the construction of a Mediterranean geopolitical space.
Ferrari's areas of interest are law and religion in Italy and Europe, the dynamics of secularism, laïcité, and the rights to religious freedom especially in relation to the Muslim presence in Europe. Ferrari has been Directeur d’études at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) and Roberta Buffet Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, and will be in residence at HLS during Spring Semester 2019.
Havva G. Guney-Ruebenacker is jointly with ILSP: LSC 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.
Dominik M. Müller Visiting Scholar, ILSP: Law and Social Change
Dominik M. Müller returns to ILSP: LSC as a Visiting Fellow in the spring of 2019. At his home institution, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, he heads a research group investigating “The Bureaucratization of Islam and Its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia,” funded by the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether Program. For this project, he is supervising PhD students doing ethnographic research in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. His own empirical contributions address state-Islam relations in Brunei and Singapore.
At HLS, he will hold a workshop, “Bureaucratizing Diversity in Muslim Southeast Asia,” jointly organized with ILSP: LSC Faculty Director Kristen Stilt and Associate Director Salma Waheedi. The workshop will be attended by socio-legal scholars and anthropologists from Europe and the United States. During his fellowship, Müller will also work on a book manuscript on Islamic law, national ideology, and social change in Brunei.
Müller received his PhD from Goethe-University Frankfurt (2012), where he has also been a post-doctoral researcher (2012–2016). He has held short-term positions at Stanford University (2013), the University of Brunei Darussalam (2014), the University of Oxford (2015), and the National University of Singapore (2016). In 2017–2018, he had a previous stint as an ILSP: LSC fellow. He is current a non-resident fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Asian Legal Studies (2017–2020), an appointed member of the “Junge Akademie | Mainz” (Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, Germany), and holds a scholarship under the Daimler and Benz Foundation’s post-doctoral program (project “Social Categorization and Religiously Framed State-Making in Southeast Asia). He is the Editor of BERITA, the publication of the Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS).
His dissertation, an ethnographic study of the rise of pop-Islamism among Malaysia’s Islamist opposition movement, received the Frobenius Society’s Research Award as Germany’s best anthropological dissertation of 2012. His article “Islamic Politics and Popular Culture in Malaysia: Negotiating Normative Change between Sharia Law and Electric Guitars” received a Commendation in the Young Scholars Competition 2014 of the journal Indonesia and the Malay World. In 2018 he was awarded the John A. Lent Prize by the AAS. He is an author for the Encyclopedia of Islam, and has published in journals such as the Cambridge Journal of Law and Religion, Asian Survey, Indonesia and the Malay World, Globalizations, and South East Asia Research. He recently guest-edited a special issue, “The Bureaucratization of Islam in Southeast Asia: Transdisciplinary Perspectives."
Erum Sattar Visiting Fellow, ILSP: Law and Social Change
Professor and Barrister Dr. Erum Khalid Sattar holds a Doctorate in Juridical Sciences (S.J.D. '17) from Harvard Law School. She teaches water security and policy, environmental law and water law and development at the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Northeastern University School of Law, and Tufts University. She is currently helping organize a series of conferences on water security for Pakistan's Supreme Court.
Broadly, Erum studies the institutional architecture of national and international development and has explored British colonial-era water law and policy and its continuing effects in the Indus River Basin. Her current research is a comparison of the instrumental transformation of water law and property doctrines in 18th and 19th century America, the legal and institutional regimes created by the Moors in Spain and their continuing effects in the American Southwest with the colonial-era regime of water control created by the British in India and modern-day Pakistan. She is exploring these legal and institutional histories for their contemporary relevance at a time of growing stress on shared natural resources. She has recently co-authored a paper comparing the Indus to the Colorado River Basin (forthcoming in the Michigan Journal of Law Reform), Sattar, Erum and Robison, Jason Anthony and McCool, Daniel, Evolution of Water Institutions in the Indus River Basin: Reflections from the Law of the Colorado River (available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr/).
During the ILSP: LSC Fellowship, she will mainly focus on turning her dissertation into a monograph as well as work on publishing other articles and book chapters stemming from her research.
Mariam Sheibani is a PhD candidate in Islamic Thought in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests are in Islamic intellectual and social history, with a focus on law, ethics, gender, and contemporary Islamic thought. Her dissertation, which she will be defending this summer, examines how Muslim jurists from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries addressed salient questions concerning legal philosophy and ethics, leading them to develop competing legal methodologies and visions of the law. In particular, she traces the development of a teleological, analytical, and socially responsive legal discourse that originated among Shāfiʿī jurists in Khorasan and continued to evolve in Ayyubid Damascus and Mamluk Cairo in subsequent centuries. Prior to her doctoral studies, she earned a BA in Public Affairs and Policy Management, an MA in Legal Studies, and an MA in Islamic Thought. She has studied and done research in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. As an ILSP fellow, she will be undertaking research on legal maxims and Shāfiʿī legal history.
Aaron Spevack Visiting Fellow, PIL: SHARIAsource
Aaron Spevack specializes in Islamic Intellectual History, with an emphasis on 13th-19th-century law, theology, and Sufism. He obtained a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Intellectual History from Boston University and an ALB from Harvard University’s Extension Division. He also studied Jazz performance and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and has extensive experience performing Jazz, Hip-hop, and Sufi music from Morocco, Turkey, and the Levant. He has published two books and a number of articles on Islamic intellectual history. His book The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri was published by SUNY Press in 2014; through a study of various commentaries written by the 19th-century Egyptian scholar Ibrahim al-Bajuri, he challenges popular theories of intellectual decline and anti-rationalism. One of his more recent works focuses on the coalescence of Northwest African and Persian theological and philosophical thought in 13th-19th century Islamic education, especially its reception in Egypt's al-Azhar University.