SMNR: Law and Religion in the Modern Middle East

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON 3:00 - 6:00 pm ONLINE

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


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.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Islamic Law: Cases, Authorities, and Worldview *
Ahmad Atif Ahmad
Bloomsbury , edition: 2017
ISBN: 9781474274487
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


Headshot of Ayoub, Samy Ayoub, Samy
Log In to View Course Evaluations

Important Class Changes

Date Updated
11/13/2020 Course is cross listed
Room(s) changed
Meeting changed