Kristen A. Stilt, a leading expert on Islamic law and society, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School beginning in September 2014, with an appointment as Professor of Law.
Stilt currently holds the position of Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law at Northwestern University School of Law and Professor of History at Northwestern University. At HLS, she will also serve as co-director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program, along with Professor Intisar A. Rabb.
Author of Islamic Law in Action: Authority, Discretion, and Everyday Experiences in Mamluk Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011), Stilt focuses her research on Islamic law and society in both historical and contemporary contexts. For her work on constitutional Islam, she was named a Carnegie Scholar, and in 2013 was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
“It is unusual to find in one person a learned scholar, imaginative writer, and inspired teacher, yet Kristen Stilt is precisely a triple threat,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. “Her acclaimed expertise in the history of Islamic law in practice in society and her knowledge of contemporary issues in the Middle East undergird her vivid writings; her imaginative and engaging teaching reaches into fields including Property Law and Animal law, as well as Islamic Law. It is fabulous to know she will bring her many talents and energy to co-directing the Islamic Legal Studies Program, to strengthening ties between HLS and Harvard University, and to the communities of students and scholars here and elsewhere drawn to the vital subjects of her work.”
Prior to joining Northwestern University in 2007, she was an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the law school and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. She was a visiting associate professor at Harvard Law School from 2011-2012, and she was a visiting researcher at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School from 2003-2004. Stilt is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law.
“Joining the HLS faculty is a tremendous privilege,” Stilt said, “and I am excited to return to the community in which I developed questions about law and society that are still essential to my work. HLS is an ideal place to further my broad scholarly interests and tackle pressing contemporary problems, and I look forward to the interactions with my new colleagues and students that will enhance both endeavors. With my co-director Intisar Rabb, I am eager to lead the Islamic Legal Studies Program in new and exciting directions and deepen connections with our colleagues across the University. In addition, I am thrilled at the opportunity to be part of building animal law at HLS and developing synergies among the fields of law, religion, and animal studies.”
She received her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law, where she was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review and co-editor-in-chief of the Texas Journal of Women in the Law. Stilt holds a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
For three years, Stilt worked as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in the Washington, D.C., and Moscow offices. She also worked at the Moscow office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.