Committee on the Study of Religion and Harvard Law School present The Inaugural Lecture of the Harvard Law and Religion Lecture Series with
Brinkley M. Messick
Professor in Anthropology, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University
Brinkley Messick specializes in the anthropology of law, legal history, written culture, and the circulation and interpretation of Islamic law. He is working on a book on the doctrine and court practice of Shari`a law in the pre-revolutionary twentieth-century Islamic state of highland Yemen. He is also interested in a critical review of anthropology’s early disinclination, as a matter of disciplinary identity, to deal with written sources. Professor Messick teaches courses on Islamic law; Islam and theory; and Muslim society. In 2009 he received the Outstanding Senior Scholar Award from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.
Professor Messick is the author of The Calligraphic State (1993), which was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize of the Middle Eastern Studies Association, and co-editor of Islamic Legal Interpretation (1996). His scholarly articles include “Indexing the Self: Expression and Intent in Islamic Legal Acts,” Islamic Law & Society (2001); “Written Identities: Legal Subjects in an Islamic State,” History of Religions (1998); “Genealogies of Reading and the Scholarly Cultures of Islam,” in S. Humphreys, ed. Cultures of Scholarship (1997); and “Textual Properties: Writing and Wealth in a Yemeni Shari`a Case,” Anthropology Quarterly (1995).
Sponsors: Julius-Rabinowitz Program in Jewish and Israeli Law, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change