Najam Haider, an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion, completed his PhD at Princeton University (2007), M.Phil. at Oxford University (2000), and BA at Dartmouth College (1997). His courses bridge the gap between the classical and modern Muslim worlds with a particular emphasis on the impact of colonization on Islamic political and religious discourse. Prof. Haider’s research interests include early Islamic history, the methodology and development of Islamic law, and Shi‘ism. His first book entitled The Origins of the Shi‘a was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and focused on the role of ritual and sacred space in the formation of Shi‘i identity. His second book (Shi‘i Islam – Cambridge 2014) offered a comprehensive overview of three branches of Shi‘i Islam – Zaydī, Twelver, and Isma'ili – through a framework of theology and memory. His current project focuses on the link between early Islamic historical writing and Late Antique and Classical Rhetoric.
Brinkley Messick specializes in the anthropology of law, legal history, written culture, and the circulation and interpretation of Islamic legal texts. He is the author of The Calligraphic State (1993), which was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize of the Middle Eastern Studies Association, and co-editor of Islamic Legal Interpretation (1996). His recently published book is Shariʿa Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (2018). Among his scholarly articles are “Indexing the Self: Expression and Intent in Islamic Legal Acts,” Islamic Law & Society (2001); “Written Identities: Legal Subjects in an Islamic State,” History of Religions (1998); “Genealogies of Reading and the Scholarly Cultures of Islam,” in S. Humphreys, ed. Cultures of Scholarship (1997); and “Textual Properties: Writing and Wealth in a Yemeni Shari a Case,” Anthropology Quarterly (1995).
He teaches courses on Islamic law; Islam and theory; and Written Culture. In 2009 he received the Outstanding Senior Scholar Award from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.