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Afternoon Talk on Islamic Law: Mark Fathi Massoud (University of California, Santa Cruz)


Thursday, 29 September 2022, 5:00 pm (CEST)


"Shari‘a, Inshallah - A New Book Discussion"


About the Speaker:

Mark Fathi Massoud is a Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Oxford. He is the author of two books. Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan (Cambridge University Press) received the Herbert Jacob Book Award from the Law and Society Association. Shari‘a, Inshallah: Finding God in Somali Legal Politics (Cambridge University Press) received the 2022 Hart-SLSA Book Prize from the Socio-Legal Studies Association, the 2022 Ralph J. Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association, and the 2022 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Section. It was also a finalist for the American Association of Publishers PROSE Award for the best book on government & politics published in the last year.


About the Topic:

What is the relation between faith, law, and society? How does religion strengthen the rule of law? Is the rule of law a theology or empire? Mark Fathi Massoud's book Shari‘a, Inshallah answers these questions through historical research, ethnography, and interviews in the Horn of Africa. For nearly 150 years, the Somali people have embraced shari'a, often translated as Islamic law, in the struggle for national identity and rights. Lawyers, communities, and activists have invoked God to oppose colonialism, resist dictators, expel warlords, and fight for gender equality - key steps toward the rule of law. Shari'a, Inshallah upends accounts of secular legal progress and shows how faith in a higher power guides people to the rule of law.


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