26 March 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS: Appointing Judges in an Age of Diversity: An International Conference on the JAC’s 10th Anniversary

Venue: University of Birmingham 
Date: 6 and 7 November 2015
The Institute of Judicial Administration at the University of Birmingham is hosting an SLSA-funded workshop to mark the 10th anniversary of the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Confirmed speakers include Lady Hale, Graham Gee (Birmingham) Cora Hoexter (Wits), Alexander Horne (House of Commons), Rosemary Hunter (Queen Mary), Kate Malleson (Queen Mary), Andrew Lynch (NSW) Alan Paterson (Strathclyde), Erika Rackley (Birmingham) and Lorne Sossin (Toronto). 
Three speaker slots have been reserved for PhD students. Abstracts (of around 250 words) are invited from PhD students working on judicial appointments, broadly conceived to include issues of legitimacy, diversity, independence and accountability in the UK and elsewhere.
Please send abstracts to  g.d.s.gee@bham.ac.uk by 30th April 2015. 

CALL FOR PAPERS: AAA 2015 call of papers

B/Ordering Infrastructures: Mediating Encounters across Difference

Panel Discussant: Professor Kregg Hetherington (Concordia University) 

Infrastructures underpin everyday life, mediating our experiences of space and time, and enabling --or obstructing-- the circulation of peoples, goods, knowledge, and meaning. Infrastructures are thus positioned at the center of contemporary struggles over access to resources, citizenship, and mobility. This panel will examine these concerns by considering how infrastructures shape, and are shaped by, forms of difference and inequality, producing material and metaphorical borders that organize social worlds. We seek papers on b/ordering infrastructures, that is, papers that explore how infrastructures work as bordering and ordering technologies.

Papers will consider (but are not restricted to) the following questions:

· How do infrastructures produce boundaries --but also encounters-- across difference? That is, how do infrastructures function as technologies of inclusion and exclusion?

· How do infrastructures organize human and nonhuman difference, mediating mobilities and exchanges that define landscapes and territories? How can infrastructures, as they are practiced and enacted, support or subvert regimes of governance and citizenship?

· Finally, how might attention to borders make us reimagine infrastructure? And how might attention to infrastructure make us reimagine borders?

The panel aims to bring into dialogue diverse approaches to mobility, materiality and power. While the anthropology of infrastructure conversant with science and technology studies and affect theory produces insights on the encounters of state and society, nature and culture, and people and things, social theory concerned with the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class interrogates borders (as metaphors but also as infrastructures) to illuminate the politics of translation, transgression, mediation, and encounter. We welcome papers engaging these frameworks and their interstices to consider infrastructure as built structures such as roads, pipes and checkpoints but also more-than-human configurations of bureaucracies, legal systems, emergency services, and other kinds of institutions. Contributions from advanced graduate students and recent PhDs preferred.


Submission deadline for abstracts (no more than 250 words): April 1, 2015. Interested participants please emailsmccall1@ucsc.edu. Please include an abstract, title, affiliation, and current status (PhD candidacy post fieldwork, Post Doc, Faculty position).

Panel Organizers:
Rosa Elena Ficek (Wesleyan University)
Stephanie Mc Callum (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Mediterranean Encounters: The Incommensurability of Difference

Panel Organizers: Netta Van Vliet (College of the Atlantic) & Carla Hung (Duke University)

This panel focuses on encounters with difference across the Mediterranean that consider the irreducible alterity and singularity of the other. The Mediterranean, that which is between lands, has long been narrated as a space of cultural and commercial exchange. At a time when the prevailing response to encounters with the foreign and the strange is through political and discursive assimilation, we ask what alternatives there might be to tolerance and inclusion. How can we understand encounters across the Mediterranean without recourse to a logic of equivalence? Anthropology?s interest in the study of difference has populated the discipline with a variety of tools, both conceptual and methodological, which can engage with what Jim Siegel (2008) has called "the objects and objections of ethnography." Circulating through feminist theory, postcolonial studies, and literary theory but beginning with and returning to anthropology's unique method of participant-observation, this panel tries to understand difference without folding it into an ontology of the self-same or "making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.? In so doing, it provides an opportunity to challenge anthropology's foundational concepts of culture, identity, and community. The panel examines the implications of such an approach for questions of politics, human rights, the law, and the tension between the universal, the particular, and the singular. What can be learned when ethnographic experience is understood in terms of products of representation rather than as evidence?

The Mediterranean has historically been a site of linguistic, political, economic and material encounters between East and West, North and South, Europe and its others, between Arab and Jew, European and African, refuge and asylum seeker.  Taking the Mediterranean as a site through which to conduct close readings of  the geopolitical and temporal movements across land and water, East and West, North and South, Europe and its others that have taken place on both sides of its shores, the panelists strive to think about the strange without making it familiar.  This panel is interested in addressing the questions posed by incommensurable difference through a diverse set of ethnographic examples, including engagements with movement between madness and reason, religious and secular, life and death, diaspora and at home, and human and inhuman.

Please send a 250 word abstract and a title for your proposed contribution to Carla Hung carla.hung@duke.edu by Wednesday April 1, 2015. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 5th.

Entangled Border Crossings:  Identity Construction, Disciplinary Boundaries, and Asian Diaspora

Taking Asian and Asian American identities as dynamic and often times contested processes, the focus of this panel explores the multiple ways in which these subjectivities are constructed and renegotiated in a complex world characterized and shaped by active technological changes, flows of migrants and travelers, and capital assemblages. Even for those whose physical movement is limited, the trends and flows that transcend geographic and political borders are difficult to ignore. Examining these processes highlights the dynamism of Asian and Asian American identities, where the familiar/strange dynamic that is the theme of this year’s conference often comes into play as subjects encounter the Asian/Asian American “other.” The panel draws from ethnographic work conducted among people of Asian descent in specific sites in Asia, the U.S., or elsewhere to shed light on the challenges and opportunities created by the complex process of identity construction, which draws from a multitude of local and global resources.  What competing narratives do we find about Asian American or Asian identity and its relationship to a larger Asian diaspora?  What salient concepts or motivations are linked to various contemporary ideas of “Asian identity?”  Furthermore, the multi-sited, ethnographically rooted insights which characterize anthropological perspectives can help further push the boundaries of area studies approaches typified by Asian and Asian American Studies by providing grounded research on specific contexts of power, governmentality, and cultural politics that shape the very impact of these flows.  This panel seeks to scrutinize and unpack the complex processes that individuals find themselves in various cultural contexts to examine how a range of individuals imagine, interpret and understand this dynamic and at times contested process of identity construction.

Submission deadline for abstracts (no more than 250 words): April 1, 2015.

Interested participants please email both jheung@stmarys-ca.edu and louie@msu.edu.  Please include an abstract, title, affiliation, and current status (PhD candidacy post fieldwork, Post Doc, Faculty position).  Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 5th.

New Sending Communities and New Receiving Communities in Dialogue with Migration Theory 

In the past decade, theorists have argued that the notion of migrant networks at the heart of cumulative causation and transnational theories of migration requires revisiting. These theorists assert that because research tends to report on already existing networks, a number of key questions remain. This critique suggests that research on new sending and new receiving communities is well-poised to evaluate and contribute to migration theory. New sending and receiving communities often garner little attention, especially when located in marginalized parts of countries or regions that already have a strong presence in international migration streams.  This panel takes as its starting point a dialogue between these communities and migration theory. From the perspective of sending communities, what is the connection between international sojourns and historical antecedents of localized moves? Cumulative causation theory posits a few individuals--people whose nonconformity in their own societies lead them to travel outside it--open paths for prospective migrants. Nonconformists are not necessarily trendsetters. Thus, we ask: How do their actions become popularized and, in some cases, self-reinforcing? From the perspective of new receiving communities, this panel questions: how do employers, landowners, shopkeepers, and other residents establish the social capital and cultural skills required to operate in changing cultural settings? In both new sending and new receiving communities, how does migration work to alter social constructs such as class, race, gender, kin, and other power relations? Which beliefs, ideas, and behaviors--at home and abroad—are most vulnerable to migration’s effects at its outset? While these questions respond to today’s prominent theories, the panel also considers how the ethnography of new sending and receiving communities opens possibilities for novel considerations and explanatory frameworks.

Panel Organizers:  Nora Haenn, North Carolina State University and Michelle Moran-Taylor, University of Denver

Panel Discussant: Deborah Boehm, University of Nevada, Reno

Potential participants should send their abstracts (250 words max) to Nora Haenn (nora_haenn@ncsu.edu) by April 3rd, 2015. Please include the title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation, and email. Thank you.

Making the Familiar Strange: experimenting with cultures of biomedical interventions

Anthropologists have long worked with and along biomedical interventions. Such research has explored areas of medical treatment, hygiene, child maternal care, epidemics, vaccination, and drug development. Drawing from a rich literature of medical anthropologists and science and technology scholars, these studies have raised issues of generalizability across populations and individuals, characterizations of research subject, recruitment procedures, and methodologies of comparison.

This panel is interested in particular forms of interventions that are associated with specific and notions of evidence, namely, the growing reliance on so-called evidence based methods, and the associated method of the RCT that is dominating health and social policy in the US, UK, and across Europe.  As anthropologists becoming entangled in these processes of clinical trial implementation, this panel will raise questions as to whether or not we are becoming too familiar with the language and culture of biomedical interventions. And, to address this concern, contributors will discuss ways to engage and experiment with intervention research in order to make the familiar and assumed dependable research method of the RCT appear strange and incomplete.

The panel will therefore address how it is that RCTs and the concept of the intervention has become so normalised, familiar, standard, and even boring, and in what ways anthropology might unsettle this. These experiment could include creative conceptualisations of biomedical interventions and research designs, explorations of how biomedical research methods encapsulate specific worldviews, and how imaginaries of places, people, and bodies are enacted in the development of the research design.

We are also interested in what does not normally get included in the formal research protocols or publications of evidence based medicine. A running theme will therefore also be the notion of surplus information or the “remainders” (Strathern 1991) of trial research.  As anthropologists that study interventions and research design (rather than simply contribute to their operation) we invite papers that capture the residual or strange knowledge that does not get registered in usual systems of knowledge production. These can be explorations into the body of excess data production, the unintended consequences or outcomes that are not typically acknowledged, or novel analytical ways to think and write about the mundane processes of standardization and research design.

We invite papers that explore questions related to:

· How global standards (such as research questionnaires, research protocols, systems of measurement and analysis etc.) travel across boundaries and are applied in locally situated trials?

· How data become standardized in the context of pooling international clinical trial data from various consortiums?

· What kinds of labour are involved in using animals models to support/justify the interventions applied in clinical trials on humans?

· What kinds of research design allow for the generation of new questions in the ongoing process of trial or study implementation?

· How are clinical trials that test behavioural interventions used to expand research on diabetes, obesity, cancer, and HIV?

· What kinds of locally specific practices are used in the everyday implementation of multi-sited clinical trials?

· What labour is involved in standardizing clinical trials in the everyday? What kinds of “random effects” or variability are masked in the process of standardizing ?

We invite scholars whose work examines research design and interventions broadly defined, to join us for the 2015 American Anthropological Association meeting in Denver, Colorado. Please e-mail your abstract of no more than 250 words to Natali Valdez nvaldez919@gmail.com by April 9, 2015.

If you have any questions, please contact one of the following panel organizers:
Line Hillersdal (University of Copenhagen) njh933@hum.ku.dk
Jonas Winther (University of Copenhagen) tsn797@hum.ku.dk
Natali Valdez (University of California, Irvine) nvaldez919@gmail.com

Going Public / Becoming Private: Collaboration, Nontransparency, and Hybridity between Government and Industry

Conditions of late capitalism, socialism and post-socialism have demonstrated that when it comes to relations between government and industry, myriad configurations are possible. NGOs and state-owned enterprises push the boundaries of what might be considered a business or a corporation, while privatization and corruption circumscribe new and strange members within constellations of the state, government agencies (Stark 1996), public property (Verdery 1997), and public money. Mindful that what we consider to be public must be made public (Latour and Weibel 2005), and that multiple economic systems operate, cheek by jowl, in the same spaces and institutions (Gibson-Graham 2006), papers on this panel ethnographically examine how forms of relationality between industry and government at all levels reshape our understandings of the state, local government, small and medium enterprises, and corporations, and reconfigure notions about what institutions, property, and forms of value are public or private. Ultimately, we explore how understandings of government-industry relations come to be, and the effects these understandings bring about in the world.

Papers for this panel might consider:
NGOs, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
Corporate governance
Public-private partnerships
Corruption, transparency and nontransparency
Taxation or insurance sweetheart deals
Intellectual property rights guarantees
Utility monopolies
Government land seizures and eminent domain
Too-big-to-fail financial institutions, moral hazard

Please send expressions of interest by March 27 or ASAP, and abstracts by April 3, to Leksa Lee at achmiele@uci.edu.

24 March 2015

JOURNAL: (2015) 2:1 Critical Analysis of Law - New Historical Jurisprudence & Historical Analysis of Law

(2015) 2:1 Critical Analysis of Law, an International & Interdisciplinary Law Review, is out. 

CAL: Critical Analysis of Law
Its theme is

New Historical Jurisprudence & Historical Analysis of Law
The New Historical Jurisprudence issue highlights and encourages a trend in recent legal scholarship, or rather scholarship on law, that--like the original historical jurisprudence--pursues a historical analysis of law, as a form of critical analysis of law, rather than legal history, as applied historiography. Generated by theorists with a historical sensibility, and historians with theoretical curiosity, this emerging body of work exploits and challenges the intersection of history and jurisprudence in innovative and exciting ways.
It includes:
Markus D. Dubber

Samera Esmeir

Mireille Hildebrandt

Aaron T. Knapp

Peter L. Lindseth

Arlie Loughnan

Heikki Pihlajamäki

Lena Salaymeh

Galia Schneebaum, Shai J. Lavi

Karl Shoemaker

Robert J. Steinfeld

23 March 2015

ARTICLE: Ramadan on Islamic Legal Hybridity and Patriarchal Liberalism in the Shari'a Courts in Israel

I'm pleased to report that another paper linked to our Doing Justice: Official and Unofficial ‘Legalities’ in Practice Colloquiumheld at the Centre Jacques-Berque (Rabat, Morocco) from 15-16 June 2012, has been published. 

Moussa Abou Ramadan (Strasbourg)'s 'Islamic Legal Hybridity and Patriarchal Liberalism in the Shari'a Courts in Israel' has been published in the Journal of Levantine Studies. Its abstract reads:


The civil judicial family law system and the shari‘a courts in Israel are a fascinating site for the study of legal hybridity, particularly with regard to cases involving the legal and religious rights of women. Legal hybridity is found both in the shari‘a courts, even when ruling on cases that are under their exclusive jurisdiction, and in the family courts that apply provisions of Islamic and Israeli law. In this article, I examine as a case study of the problem of appointing a woman as arbitrator between quarelling spouses in the shari‘a court arbitration process. This example shows how a shari‘a court operates under pressure from the secular civil judicial system. It is discernible how a system of legal hybridity gives rise to multiple discourses deriving from different normative systems and various players—such as human rights organizations, Islamic feminist movements, secular feminist movements, and the Israel Supreme Court—seeking to navigate the discourse in pursuit of their interests. My central thesis is that this system of legal hybridity is enhancing a patriarchal liberalism that is filled with obstacles and hurdles preventing full equality. 

20 March 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT: Introduction: Religious Law in the 21st Century

By Michael A. Helfand Pepperdine 
University School of Law

Professor Helfand introduces this symposium on Religious Law in the 21st Century. Helfand notes that a recurring theme in recent debates over the relationship between law and religion is the unique challenge of reconciling conflicts not just between law and religion, but between the law of the nation-state and “religious legal communities” -- that is, communities that primarily experience their religious norms through the prism of legal rules. Muslim and Jewish communities serve as prime examples of such religious legal communities, and the challenges faced by these communities often parallel each other in important ways. Thus, an important subset of contemporary religious controversies -- from circumcision bans to anti-Sharia laws -- emerge as not only conflicts between law and religion, but as conflicts between law and law. And it is to this unique set of questions that the jointly-sponsored program of the Islamic Law and Jewish Law Sections of the American Association of Law Schools was addressed. The program was split into two thematic panels, and the articles in this symposium reflect those themes. The first -- titled “Religious Law in U.S. Courts” -- considered the various contexts in which U.S. courts have been asked to address religious questions that touch upon religious law. The second -- titled “Religious Law in the Secular State” -- considered contemporary issues related to the practice and implementation of religious law in secular democracies. Together, these papers bring new insight to these questions and serve as a springboard for discussion and debate about how religious law will fit into the ever-evolving landscape of the 21st century.

Click here to download this paper.

19 March 2015

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: 2nd Annual International & Comparative Urban Law Conference

June 29, 2015, Paris, France

The Fordham Urban Law Center is pleased to announce a call for participation for the 2nd Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference, to be held on Monday, June 29, 2015
The all-day Conference will be held at the Sorbonne Law School at the Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris, France. The Conference is co-sponsored by the Sorbonne Center for Study and Research on Environmental, Development, Urban and Tourism Law (SERDEAUT).

TOPICS: The Conference will provide a dynamic forum for legal and other scholars to engage and generate diverse international, comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives in the burgeoning field of urban law. The Conference will explore overlapping themes, tensions and opportunities for deeper scholarly investigation and practice with a comparative perspective across the following urban law topics, among others:
- Structure and workings of local authority and autonomy
- Urban governance
- Environmental sustainability
- Economic and community development
- Criminal justice
- Urban public health
- Affordable housing
- Municipal finance
- Local government consumer protection
- Family law and urban planning

The goal of the Conference is to facilitate an in-depth engagement across sub-specialties within the legal academy to help develop an understanding of urban law in the twenty-first century.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: Potential participants in panels and workshops at the Conference should submit a one-page proposal to Nisha Mistry, Director, Fordham Urban Law Center, at nmistry2@law.fordham.edu

If you have a draft paper, please include it with your proposal. Participants do not need to have prepared a formal paper in order to join the program. Deadline for topic proposal submissions: April 20, 2015.

PUBLICATION: This year, the Urban Law Center will publish the first edition of a multi-year book series compiling cross-cutting global perspectives on law and urbanism, with a core focus on comparative enquiry. This Conference will serve as the basis for the second volume in this series, which will be published by Ashgate (as part of Juris Diversitas) following customary review and selection processes. If you are interested in potential publication, please indicate this interest at the time of your proposal submission.

ABOUT THE URBAN LAW CENTER: The Urban Law Center at Fordham Law School in New York City is committed to investigating and affecting the role of the law and legal systems in contemporary urbanism. Seehttp://law.fordham.edu/urbanlawcenter.htm for more information about the Center.

ABOUT SERDEAUT: Today, SERDEAUT is the only research center in France dedicated to environmental, development, urban, housing, and tourism law altogether. These research and expertise themes directly concern the socio-economic problems that are currently of the utmost importance in France, Europe, and the rest of the world: sustainable development, territorial cohesion, economic development and housing. See for more information about SERDEAUT.

CALL FOR PAPERS: The 5th International Conference on Language, Law and Discourse

CALL FOR PAPERS

The 5th International Conference on Language, Law and Discourse
27 September-1 October 2015

Communication and Fairness in Legal Settings

For additional information, see the conference website here.
Note that the deadline for abstracts is quickly approaching!

JURIS DIVERSITAS - BOOK: Berti, Good, and Tarabout (eds), Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment

  • We're very proud to note the latest publication in the Juris Diversitas Series
  • Berti, Good, and Tarabout (eds), Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment
  • All institutions concerned with the process of judging - whether it be deciding between alternative courses of action, determining a judge’s professional integrity, assigning culpability for an alleged crime, or ruling on the credibility of an asylum claimant - are necessarily directly concerned with the question of doubt. By putting ritual and judicial settings into comparative perspective, in contexts as diverse as Indian and Taiwanese divination and international cricket, as well as legal processes in France, the UK, India, Denmark, and Ghana, this book offers a comprehensive and novel perspective on techniques for casting and dispelling doubt, and the roles they play in achieving verdicts or decisions that appear both valid and just.

    Broadening the theoretical understandings of the social role of doubt, both in social science and in law, the authors present these understandings in ways that not only contribute to academic knowledge but are also useful to professionals and other participants engaged in the process of judging. This collection will consequently be of great interest to academics researching in the fields of legal anthropology, ritual studies, legal sociology, criminology, and socio-legal studies.
    • The Contents, Introduction, and Index are available here.
    • Reviews: 
    • ‘Of Doubt and Proof highlights issues of considerable importance for the social sciences, not least for lawyers and others such as anthropologists concerned with what Bourdieu called the “juridical field”. Its comparative scope, with studies of ritual and judicial processes in Africa, Asia and Europe, is especially impressive and enhances its originality.’
    • Ralph Grillo, University of Sussex, UK

      ‘Doubt is not the opposite of belief, as anthropologists have recently shown, but depends upon belief and in turn helps to constitute it. This book, in writing that is both precise and wonderfully imaginative, explores this apparent paradox in relation to the legal terrain, where doubt is routinely cast and then dispelled through compelling public performances. In the process, the book - showing how law and ritual may have much more in common than formerly supposed - innovatively ranges across settings from asylum courts in France, Denmark and the UK, through Indian temple consultations, to Chinese divination. It ambitiously challenges us to think beyond the level of the obvious, while also making a thoughtful and rigorous contribution to the novel field of the anthropology of doubt and evidence.’
    • Deborah James, London School of Economics, UK

      ‘This volume represents a crucial intervention into the question of what happens in institutional settings where doubt must be exercised, not as a presumed internal or affective state, but as a technique of knowledge formation. The cases presented here show that doubt is such a successful technique that it must be managed through a host of other social forms. These cases also show that it is often divinatory practices, and not courtroom judgements, in which doubt is more rigorously exercised in arriving at a decision. This is a collection that shows through felicitous juxtaposition of the legal and the ritual how the former shares far more sociological elements with the latter than is often acknowledged.’
    • Melissa Demian, The Australian National University
  • About the Editors: 
  • Daniela Berti is ‘Chargée de Recherche’ at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, and a member of the Centre for Himalayan Studies at Villejuif. Her research in North India focuses on ritual interactions, politico-ritual roles and practices formerly associated with kingship, and on the ethnography of court cases in India. She recently coordinated with Gilles Tarabout an international research programme funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), entitled Just-India: A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia.

    Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and formerly Head of the School of Social & Political Science. His research interests cover Tamil Nadu (South India), and Sri Lanka. He frequently acts as an expert witness in asylum appeals involving Sri Lankan Tamils. His recent research concerns uses of expert evidence in British asylum courts, and (with Robert Gibb) a comparative study of asylum processes in the UK and France.

    Gilles Tarabout is Emeritus ‘Directeur de Recherche’ at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and formerly head of the Centre for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology (LESC), at the University of Paris West-Nanterre. His research focuses especially on relationships between society and religion in Kerala (South India). He has recently been coordinating with Daniela Berti an international research programme funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), entitled Just-India: A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia.

18 March 2015

SERIES/BOOK: Global Law and Walker on Intimations of Global Law

A new Global Law Series has been announced at Cambridge:

The series provides unique perspectives on the way globalisation is radically altering the study, discipline and practice of law. Featuring innovative books in this growing field, the series explores those bodies of law which are becoming global in their application, and the newly emerging interdependency and interaction of different legal systems. It covers all major branches of the law and includes work on legal theory, history and the methodology of legal practice and jurisprudence under conditions of globalisation. Offering a major platform on global law, these books provide essential reading for students and scholars of comparative, international and transnational law.

Neil Walker’s Intimations of Global Law is the first text in the Series:

A strain of law reaching beyond any bounded international or transnational remit to assert a global jurisdiction has recently acquired a new prominence. Intimations of Global Law detects this strain in structures of international law claiming a planetary scope independent of state consent, in new threads of global constitutional law, administrative law and human rights, and in revived notions of ius gentium and the global rule of law. It is also visible in the legal pursuit of functionally differentiated global public goods, general conflict rules, norms of 'legal pluralism' and new legal hybrids such as the global law of peace and humanity law. The coming of global law affects how law manifests itself in a global age and alters the shape of our legal-ethical horizons. Global law presents a diverse, unsettled and sometimes conflicted legal category, and one which challenges our very understanding of the rudiments of legal authority.

16 March 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT:Whither Egypt? Against Religious Fascism and Legal Authoritarianism: Pure Revolution, Popular Coup, or a Military Coup D’État?

By Mohamed A. Arafa
Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2014

One important question has been raised since the now-removed Islamist President Mohammad Morsi took the office of the Republic on June 30, 2012: will Egypt be an Islamic State with legislation based onIslamic (Sharia) Law? Egyptian people expel the accusations proliferated by extremist streams and radical Islamists that the concept of a “civil (secular) State” is anti-religious or that it interests only the prosperous minority. Such untrue discourse and dialogue by extremists misinforms the folks, as the human logic and knowledge shows that a State which is based on just laws, fair statutes, and respect for human rights is not antagonistic to religion, and is in the public interest of the whole community. Furthermore, playing on religious sentimentalities by saying that God’s (Allah’s) sovereignty — as argued by some rigid classical religious jurists — rather than the people destabilizes the legal institutions and main foundations of the modern democratic civil state by adopting and codifying theocratic and radical notions takes Egypt back into the Dark Ages. Accordingly, this opens the door to complicated issues in constitutional litigation, and the enactment and repeal of legal rulings according to religious interpretations based on misunderstanding of the principles of divine sovereignty in Islamic law.

In this domain, the conflation of Islam and Islamism has permeated the interpretation of Egypt’s ethnic and personal character, leading one legal and political scholar to label the Muslim Brotherhood as “the Muslims” or “Islamic” while calling their opponents “non-Islamic.” Islamism is considered a vague politicization of a specific religious attitude throughout the Middle Eastern Arabian World and cannot be associated with Islam as a belief or faith. The Egyptian Government, along with Egyptians, are in favor of having a place in a civil democratic Egypt for quiet, peaceful Islamists who would not want to change the State’s national character and the form of its government into an Islamic religious theocracy. The scuffle to define and explain the concept of “Islam” in Egypt has a long legal and constitutional history as those who favor political Islam square off against those who prefer a more secular-oriented form of government. Generally speaking, the state’s main obligation in any country is to preserve public order and protect and defend its national citizens. This duty is generally difficult to harmonize with the accountability of any non-state dynamic.

To further illustrate the far-reaching effects of the June 30 and July 3 events, this Article contains four parts including the introduction. Part two provides a concise framework establishing the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of Egyptian politics. Then, part three discusses the definition of the relevant religious laws and legislation in Egypt and how they can be enacted under Islamic law in the light of the flexible Sharia’s definition and interpretation, especially within the new provisions of the 2014 Constitution. This Article concludes in part four by arguing that talks about Islam, Islamism, and political Islam are understood only as discourse about power, and always will impede any régime [tyrannical and autonomous] that does not generate a place for its survival. What Egypt essentially needs at the present status quo — more than anything else — is an Islamic resurgence and religious revival in the light of an innovative reinterpretation of Islam [Islamic law] and its teachings as a dialogue of freedom and liberty. Whatever the ultimate aftermath is in Egypt, it will cause undulations that will resonate throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Click here to download this paper.

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