Elizabeth Lhost F'16

Elizabeth  Lhost
Postdoctoral Fellow
History and Society of Fellows
Dartmouth College

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2016
Doctoral Candidate
South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and History
University of Chicago
Between Community and Qanun: Documenting Islamic Legal Practice in Nineteenth-Century South Asia

This project considers the role writing and documentation played in the modernization of Islamic legal practice in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century South Asia. Drawing on previously unexamined materials produced by qazis (Islamic judges) and muftis (jurisconsults)—including notebooks, registers, and files—the project considers the effects of bureaucratization in particular and legal modernization more generally on the everyday procedures and protocols of local legal practice. In so doing it brings together observations on the importance of paperwork in the exercise and extension of British imperial power with a critical understanding of the role print technologies played in the context of Islamic reform. It argues that the development of novel documentary forms in the nineteenth century paved the way for the emergence of a system of legal pluralism rooted in parallel procedures.