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Hamzić, Vanja (2014) Methodology and/of Critique in Islamic Legal Studies. In: Heterodox Approaches to Islamic Law and Policy, IGLP Research Conference, June 2014, Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This is an introductory speech for the first research conference of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School that sought to critically engage with the question of heterodoxy in Islamic legal theory and practice. The speech focuses on methodology. The speaker felt that by posing the question of methodology – of how one does one's research, of what one finds good to ‘think with’, of how one frames and directs one's narrative voice – one could achieve a broader understanding of what it is like to be involved in Islamic legal studies in the 21st century, that is, quite a few centuries after this discipline had emerged in amongst the early umma. The speaker also felt that by posing the question of methodology one would be inevitably drawn to an interdisciplinary – heterodox – scholarly landscape - not only because the passion for Islamic legal studies is shared by lawyers, historians, art historians, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, political scientists and scholars of many other disciplines – but also due to an inherent and continuous pluralism within the field itself: the pluralism of analytical tools and their articulation by the various agents of Islamic jurisprudence throughout its formative, classical, post-classical, modern and what could perhaps be called ‘post-modern’ periods, both in spite and because of the various historical attempts at its systematisation; the pluralism of social, cultural, philosophical and political readings of the legal authority of and in the foundational Texts – that perpetual and at times perplexing 'calligraphic state' of production and re-imagination of Islamic law, to paraphrase Brinkley Messick; the pluralism of human and non-human subjectivities and agencies constituted or challenged by the various strands of Islamic legality in Muslim societies, socialities and lifeworlds of the past and the present; and, finally, the pluralism of engagements and experiences that the Islamic legal tradition has had with nominally or aetiologically non-Muslim legal traditions, which have produced most intricate patterns of hybridisation and ‘re-purification’, vernacularisation and globalisation, reformation and counter-reformation, and other similar – often juxtaposed yet mutually related – phenomena.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Speech)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law > Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)
School Research Centres > Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law
Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
K Law > KB Religious Law in General > KBP Islamic Law
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 09:13
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/19051

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