Alan Verskin F'11, F'09
ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program 2011
Ph.D., Islamic Studies/Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Dissertation: "Early Islamic Legal Responses to Living under Christian Rule: Reconquista-era Development and 19th-Century Impact in the Maghrib"
Appointed in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University (Academic Years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013)
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Department: Near Eastern Studies
The Evolution of the North African Muslim Jurists’ Response to European Rule and Influence from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century
This dissertation traces how Muslim jurists responded to European influence and forms of modernization by reappropriating tradition to deal with new cultural realities. It documents this intellectual evolution by analyzing two legal anthologies, both written during political crises. Al-Wansharisi’s work (1485-1508) was written as Christian forces completed their conquest of Muslim Spain and threatened parts of North Africa. Al-Wazzani wrote in the nineteenth century when the French already occupied Algeria and threatened Morocco. During this period, it became clear that North African independence depended upon adopting Western ideas and technologies. Al-Wazzani searched through his legal tradition to update Al-Wansharisi’s work by finding Islamic ways to authentically respond to the challenges of modernization.