Legal anthropology, Islamic law, family law, human rights, formal and informal practices of Islamic normativity, customary norms and regulations, ethnic and religious minorities, multiculturalism, political Islam
Kutaiba Kaidouha joined the Department of Law & Anthropology in November 2018 as a doctoral candidate in the research project 'Conflict Regulation in Germany's Plural Society'. He earned his bachelor's degree in Islamic Law at the University of Damascus, where he also completed his MA in Islamic Law in 2011, producing a thesis titled 'Taṣarufāt An-nabī Muḥammad biwaṣfihi imām' ('The Behavior of the Prophet Muhammad as a Head of State').
Kaidouha's current project focuses on conflicts within Syrian families living in Germany. Many Syrians have fled from Syria to Germany in recent years, and the German state must now deal with a number of family issues that are specific to the Syrian context. Kaidouha's research will investigate the structure of the Syrian family from the inside in order to understand the factors in German law that relate to divorce within Syrian communities. He will also conduct a field study to look into how the character of Syrian families is changing in this new society.
Why Law & Anthropology?
Dominant approaches to studying the anthropology of Islam, most notably that of Talal Asad, postulate that narrating an anthropology of Islam 'should begin from the concept of a discursive tradition that includes and relates itself to the founding texts of the Qur'an and the hadith'. Alternative approaches call for an analysis of Islamic law through social contexts, be they 'local, regional, national, and global'.. As a graduate in Islamic law and a witness of Islamic law interactions between state, society, and religious institutions, I am highly aware of the need to examine the dynamic nature of Islamic law in different local and social contexts. Analysing Islamic law through an anthropological lens allows us to better explain the study and practice of Islamic law as a social reality that reinterprets and reshapes Islamic tradition. At its simplest, the practice of Islamic law functions through human agency in processes of interpretation, rejection, or conformity with substantive Islamic texts. The relationship between law and anthropology offers a more holistic understanding of the symbiotic relationship between tradition and social reality in the nature and practice of Islamic law in all of its manifestations.