SMNR: Law and Religion in the Modern Middle East

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
THU 2:00 - 5:00 pm CAL 422

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This is a Middle Eastern Studies course, cross-listed with the Law School.

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 )

Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt *
Agrama, Hussein Ali
University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226010694
Forgiveness Work: Mercy, Law, and Victims' Rights in Iran *
Osanloo, Arzoo
Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691172040


Headshot of Ayoub, Samy Ayoub, Samy
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