Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Local Texts: Shari'a in Mid-Century Yemen

Mon, January 30, 2012 | SAC 2.120

12:00 PM

Local Texts: Shari'a in Mid-Century Yemen

A lecture by Brinkley Messick, Anthropology, Columbia University

 Clifford Geertz famously described law as a form of “local knowledge.” In this lecture Prof. Messick examines the Islamic Shari'a as it was manifested in a system of local texts. He refers to a corpus of written work produced by a particular community of Muslim jurists and practitioners. Yemen, mountainous and agrarian, provides the setting; the Zaydis, rooted there for over a thousand years, the juridical community. Although his research in highland Yemen has spanned the last several decades, the readings he discusses focus upon a slightly earlier point in time--the first half of the twentieth century. Prof. Messick concentrates on this recent historical period to study a formation of Shari'a texts in the era of a classically styled Islamic polity.

Sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Asian Studies, Department of French and Italian, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, Department of Religious Studies

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