Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Harvard University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Harvard University
The Politics of "Choice" in Greece: Debating Islamic Law, Women's Rights and European Obligations

Greece's policy of allowing Muslims in Thrace to choose between Islamic law or Greek civil law for family law matters presents a revealing site to explore the politics of human rights in Europe. While the Greek state and minority NGOs insist that the use of Islamic law is a matter of individual preference, human rights advocates and legal scholars assert that this system violates the rights of Thracian Muslim women, who are not free to exercise genuine choice. Thus, they argue, Muslim women must be empowered by eliminating the Islamic law option. Through ethnographic research and interviews with lawyers and rights advocates, this project examines: How is choice measured and assessed? What types of data and evidence-gathering processes do legal scholars and human rights advocates rely on as indicators of a person's ability to choose freely? How do accounts of Thracian attorneys who advise Muslim clients in navigating these legal systems support or challenge prevailing narratives on Islamic law in Thrace? By exploring the processes of evidence-gathering and representation through which knowledge on Muslim experiences is produced, and how these connect to broader debates on Greece's (contested) European obligations, this project seeks to contribute to the anthropology of human rights, knowledge, and the state.