My recent book, Sharīʿa Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (Columbia. 2018), offers an interdisciplinary account of a locally situated “formation” of Islamic legal texts, including both doctrinal works, such as law books, and also archival writings, from court transcripts to routine documents, such as contracts. I will survey the book’s ethnographic foundations, foregrounding personalities and research relations—the human circumstances for the emergence of key insights. The emphasis, however, will be on the appropriate methods for a new type of analytic reader: a humanistic social scientist.
Cosponsored by the Middle East and North African Studies program.