SMNR: Law and Religion in the Modern Middle East

Read the course description below to learn how this course will be taught.

Class Unique: 28605

This course will be taught entirely online via Zoom.

Law and Religion in the Modern Middle East is a seminar that examines the laws that govern religion and religious expression in Middle Eastern national constitutions, with a special focus on both the free exercise and establishment clause of Islam as the religion of the state. We shall analyze emerging legal understandings of authority and rights, and explore the interconnections of “religion” and “law”—as traditions of thought as well as sets of practices, modes of relation as well as constellations of values. In this seminar, we will consider what counts as religion for constitutional and legal purposes. Participants will be expected to read academic legal commentary on the formulations of religion in the modern Middle East. The seminar will provide extensive case-law from lower and higher courts addressing issues that affect Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other faith communities. To better situate the classroom discussions, students will read historical, anthropological, and sociological studies on the topics of family law, international religious freedom law, and leading religions’ doctrines and teachings concerning religious freedom.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday 3:00 - 6:00 pm ONLINE
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed


  • Islamic Law: Cases, Authorities, and Worldview - Ahmad Atif Ahmad
      Bloomsbury , edition: 2017
      ISBN: 9781474274487   (required)
  • The Impossibility of Religious Freedom - Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
      Princeton University Press
  • Law’s Religion: Religious Difference and the Claims of Constitutionalism - Benjamin Berger
      University of Toronto Press
  • Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt - Hussein Agrama
      Chicago University Press
  • Outlawed Pigs: Law, Religion, and Culture in Israel - Daphne Barak-Erez
      University of Wisconsin Press