Post Date: April 25, 2006
Professor Baber Johansen will become the acting director of Harvard Law School's Islamic Legal Studies Program and an affiliated professor at HLS, while continuing to serve as a professor at Harvard Divinity School. Established in 1991, the program focuses on the study of Islamic law and supports open inquiry of both Muslim and non-Muslim perspectives.
"For more than 30 years, I have been working on the history and the present of the Muslim fiqh – a system of legal and ethical norms – in order to understand the system’s importance for Islam as a religion, to research its contributions to legal thought and practice and to analyze its place in the Muslim world," Johansen said. "I am honored to be given the chance to pursue these studies at the Harvard Law School and at the Harvard Divinity School."
Johansen will succeed Adjunct Professor Frank Vogel, who led the Islamic Legal Studies Program for 15 years.
Joining Harvard in 2005 as a professor of Islamic religious studies at the Divinity School, Johansen has investigated the relationship between religion and law in the classical and the modern Muslim world. Previously he served on the faculties of the Freie Universitaet Berlin (1972-1995) and of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1995-2005). He is the author of four books and approximately 60 articles in international journals. He is an executive editor of the journal, Islamic Law and Society, and his most recent book is "Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim Fiqh."