Digital Islamic Law Lab: Online Analysis of Islamic Legislation and Interpretation

Digital Islamic Law Lab: Online Analysis of Islamic Legislation and Interpretation

Professor Intisar Rabb
Fall 2017 course
T 10:20am - 11:20am in WCC Room 3009
1 classroom credit

Prerequisite: Enrollment is limited to 12 students and is by permission of the instructor. A prior course in Islamic Law is helpful, but not necessary. Students who have not taken a course on Islamic law or who are not concurrently enrolled in Professor Rabb’s Introduction to Islamic Law course must attend the first two sessions of Introduction to Islamic Law, also taught this semester. Interested students should email Ashley Fournier ( with a current resume and a short statement of interest including one or two topics you might be interested in writing about (not to exceed one page). All applications are due by September 1, 2017; students will be notified after this date of their status in this course.

Exam: No Exam

This course (inspired by the Global Anticorruption Lab, first taught in Spring 2013), will provide an opportunity for students interested in assessing the way Islamic law functions in contemporary and historical contexts to work on discrete research projects in a collaborative, interactive setting. Students will select one or more topics in legislation and interpretation in a Muslim-majority or Muslim-minority country to explore during the semester. Typical topics will include issues of criminal law, family law, and Islamic finance in addition to Islamic constitutional law. We will meet six times over the course of the semester: twice for introductory sessions and four times for working “lab sessions” to discuss research, exchange feedback, and brainstorm ideas for obtaining and analyzing sources. For evaluation, students will be expected to contribute four short papers (approx. 2-3 pages each), to be published with accompanying sources used in the papers on—a newly created portal for content and context on Islamic law. The sources and analysis for the site are modeled after an Islamic-law version of WestLaw and SCOTUSblog. But unlike those two sites for U.S. law, SHARIAsource will encompass law-issuing institutions in many different countries. Participants will also have opportunities to participate in online discussion and blog debates, and to monitor online and scholarly sources for new developments on Islamic law related to their chosen research projects.

Subject Areas: International, Comparative & Foreign Law, Legal & Political Theory