LAWS3165/JURD7865 Islamic Law and Society

Lecturer: Melissa Crouch

What is the course about?
In light of global events and public debate in Australia, understanding the complexity and diversity of Islamic law has become critical. This course will provide students with an introduction to Islamic law and society in Southeast Asia. This focus is critical for Australia, because our neighbour Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority democracy in the world. Southeast Asia provides a fascinating and complex site to consider many of the broader issues and debates facing the Muslim world. The aim of the course is to explore contemporary issues and debates on Islamic law and society. Key themes of the course include Islam and Constitutionalism; the role of religious authorities; Muslim legal professionals; women and Islam; the position of minority groups within Islam; Muslims and conflict; state regulation of religion; and Islamic courts. Countries that will be covered include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Myanmar, but many themes of the course are relevant to the Muslim world more broadly. The course will allow students the opportunity to undertake a research essay on a key area of interest, while providing the support and time for discussion and debate in class on issues central to Islamic law in the region.

Do you have any advice to give students who are interested in taking this course?
This course is aimed at students who are interested in deepening their understanding of Islamic law and exploring contemporary debates concerning secularism; the significance of religion to legal traditions in Asia, and the interaction between Islam and democracy in the region. The course will equip students going into legal practise or into other sectors with a broad knowledge of Islamic legal traditions in the region, its relevance to contemporary global debates on Islam, and a deep appreciation for the importance and complexity of plural legal systems.

I am also happy to supervise students who wish to undertake a research only subject in this area.