Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Postgraduate Course: Law and Power in the Muslim World (IMES11098)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis semester-long course explores the interplay between law and politics in Muslim majority countries over the modern and contemporary period. The course will have a strong focus on the Middle East but will also cover other regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of how law is and has been used to both entrench and contest power in these areas. The course draws on a range of scholarship from various disciplines and primary sources in English translation and learning activities will include introductions by the lecturer, group/class discussions and activities, as well as independent reading and writing.
Course description Organised thematically, the course will cover issues particularly relevant to understanding the fabric of political power in the contemporary and modern Muslim World such as authoritarianism, democratization, sharia and international relations. Law will provide students an innovative and incisive perspective on how ideas and actors shape the politics and the society of the region. In this framework, we will examine key topics such as the state, constitution, violence, revolution, gender, imperialism and human rights. The thematic core components will be preceded by two introductory methodological and historical sessions. The first will provide the essential theoretical and analytical tools to approach and understand law and politics in a non-western context. The second will explore the transformation from an ancient system of power structured around Islamic legal traditions to a modern one defined by the parameters of the modern state, not only to learn about patterns of change and rupture but also to better understand how the Islamic legacy has been reincorporated in modern political and legal structures. Looking at law will allow us to tap into publicly available legal texts, which students will be able to engage with through contextualisation and critical comparison with the reality of their implementation.

This PG course shares a weekly 2-hour seminar with UG students and also includes additional PG-only 2-hour seminars during the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse legal discourses and texts of political actors in the Muslim World
  2. Contextualize and compare legal issues relevant in the Muslim World
  3. Identify the relevance of law to understand a nonwestern political context and reassess western conceptions of law
  4. Deconstruct common discourses and perceptions around law and politics in the area and provide alternatives
  5. Conceptualize law and politics in general through the comparative perspective of the Muslim World
Reading List
Brown, Nathan, Constitutions in a Nonconstitutionnal World┬┐: Arab Basic Laws and the Prospect for Accountable Government (New York: State University of New York Press, 2002).
Ginsburg, Tom, and Tamir Moustafa, Rule by Law : The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Dupret, Baudouin, What is the Sharia? (London: Hurst, 2018)
Arjomand, Said Amir, Constitutional Politics in the Middle East (Oxford: Hart, 2008).
Baderin, Mashood A, International Human Rights and Islamic Law, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.)
Brown, Nathan, The Rule of Law in the Arab World : Courts in Egypt and the Gulf, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.)
Dupret, Baudouin, What is the Sharia? (London: Hurst, 2018)
Dupret, Baudouin, Maurits. Berger, and Laila. Al-Zwaini, Legal Pluralism in the Arab World, (London: Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Esposito, John, Delong-Bas, Natana, Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).
Fraenkel, Ersnt, The Dual State: A Contribution to the Theory of Dictatorship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941).
Ginsburg, Tom, and Tamir Moustafa, Rule by Law : The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Ginsburg, Tom, and Alberto Simpser (eds), Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Grote, Rainer et Roder, Tilmann J, Constitutionalism, Human Rights, and Islam after the Arab Spring, (New York, Oxford University Press, 2016).
Kienle, Eberhard, A Grand Delusion : Democracy and Economic Reform in Egypt, (Londres, I.B.Tauris, 2001).
Hallaq Wael B, An introduction to Islamic Law, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Hirschl, Ran, Comparative Matters : The Renaissance of Comparative Constitutional Law, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Mallat, Chibli, Introduction to Middle Eastern Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
Moustafa, Tamir, The Struggle for Constitutional Power : Law, Politics, and Economic Development in Egypt, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Otto, Jan Michiel, Sharia Incorporated A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2010).
Saat, Norshahril, The State, Ulama and Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia,
(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018).
Schauer, Frederick F, Thinking like a Lawyer : A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning (London: Harvard University Press, 2009).
Tamanaha, Brian Z, A Realistic Theory of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Voorhoeve, Maaike (ed), Family Law in Islam: Divorce, Marriage and Women in the
Muslim World (London: Tauris, 2012).
Zubaida, Sami, Law and Power in the Islamic World, (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003).

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills.
* Processing and interpreting information, and presenting it orally, visually and in writing.
* Autonomy and time management.
KeywordsMuslim world,Middle East,contemporary,politics,society,religion,human rights
Course organiserDr Alexis Blouet
Tel: (0131 6) 50 4098
Course secretaryMs Monique Brough
Tel: (0131 6)50 3618
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information