Weekend Scholarship Roundup

  • Katherine Lemons’s  Divorcing traditions : Islamic marriage law and the making of Indian secularism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019) seeks to redefine the concept of secularism as applied in India. The author contends that secularism has assumed a different meaning than its Western counterparts, the latter often defined as separation between state and church. In the Indian case, however, as the author demonstrates through ample references to caselaw and the country’s legal system, particular those pertaining to the personal status affairs of women such as marriage and divorce, in India, secularism has come to denote the state’s continuous intervention in and redefinition of religion, which, in turn, has paved the way for an intertwining of religion and politics.
  • In “The Unintended Effects of Waqf Litigation: A Review of Fluid Jurisdictions (2020),” Nada Moumtaz relates her own work to Nurfadzilah Yahaya’s Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2020). Based on her own research on Beirut in the twentieth century, Moumtaz seeks to expand on Yahaya’s work, and explains that waqf (Islamic charity) litigation in the preceding century has enabled a more Western and Lockean understanding of waqf property among Muslims, who started to view waqf property as “mere pieces of land” as opposed to property dedicated to public benefit.
  • In her blog post titled “Ellipsis,” Nurfadzilah Yahaya describes how English colonial law gradually distorted the Islamic law on waqfs (charitable trusts), for example, denying them perpetuity.

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