Alan Verskin F'11, F'09

Alan  Verskin
Associate Professor
University of Rhode Island

ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program 2011
New Faculty Fellow
Middle East, South Asian and African Studies
Columbia University
PhD, Islamic Studies/Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University appointed in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University

Dissertation: "Early Islamic Legal Responses to Living under Christian Rule: Reconquista-era Development and 19th-Century Impact in the Maghrib"

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
Near Eastern Studies
Princeton University
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.