Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor of Mediterranean Studies, Literature, University of California / Santa Cruz

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Medieval Studies, Yale University
Muslim Jurists under the Almoravids

My dissertation will examine the role of Muslim jurists under Almoravid rule in North Africa and Iberia between 1062 and 1147. The dissertation will begin by surveying legal opinions, cases, and judgments (fatawa, nawazil, and ahkam) produced in this period. It will then analyze the legal reasoning of two or three representative jurists using cases selected form the survey. The study will thus approach the sources in two basic ways: as a broad survey of trends in legal thought and practice as evinced by extant compilations; and, as a close reading of selected cases, analyzing the legal reasoning that produced the related opinions or judgments. This analysis will center on the jurist's role as a cultural and political actor within the specific social and historical reality producing the cases in question. The analysis will consider these opinions and rulings alongside other works produced by the selected jurists. Carrying out this project involves spending twelve months in Morocco, profiting from expertise in what is still a living legal tradition, as well as exploring manuscripts and archives there. Many of the manuscripts with which my dissertation will deal are in Moroccan librru;ies and private collections. While a few of the compilations I will be surveying are available in edited editions, such as al-Wansharisi's, Kitab al-Mi'yar, others, such as the nawazil oflbn al-Hajj and lbn Ward, are manuscripts in Moroccan libraries, almost entirely unknown to Western scholarship. The fact that the Almoravid Empire had its capital in Morocco and that Malikism remains a living tradition there, along with the presence of manuscripts and scholars, makes Morocco the best place to carry out a substantial part of my research.