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Leor Halevi

Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of Law

Leor Halevi's scholarship explores the interrelationship between religious laws and social practices in various contexts. He is the author of Muhammad’s Grave: Death Rites and the Making of Islamic Society (Columbia University Press, 2007), for which he won four prestigious awards, including the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, given by Phi Beta Kappa for a notable scholarly contribution to the understanding of the cultural and intellectual condition of humanity, and the Albert Hourani Award, given by the Middle East Studies Association for the year’s best book in the field. He is also the co-editor of a collection of essays, Religion and Trade: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in World History, 1000-1900, (Oxford University Press, 2014). He has also published articles in Past & Present, The Journal of the History of Ideas, Speculum, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, History of Religions and other journals.

Professor Halevi is currently at work on two books dealing with Salafi fatwas concerning technological innovation and global trade. In these books, he will focus on the tension in Islamic law between an economic interest in trade and a religious interest in social exclusivity. This tension played out in very different ways in Egypt under the British Empire and in Saudi Arabia since the oil boom, so Professor Halevi plans to explore these disparate historical contexts in two separate books. He began researching this project in 2005-06, funded by a John. W. Kluge fellowship at Library of Congress and by an American Philosophical Society grant. His research has also been supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, an ACLS Charles Ryskamp fellowship, a Social Science Research Council Grant, and a fellowship at the Institut d'études avancées de Paris. He is spending the 2015-16 academic year in Berlin as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (the Institute for Advanced Study).

Professor Halevi teaches several seminars and lecture courses in the College of Arts and Science, including Muhammad and Early Islam, Religion, Culture and Commerce: The World Economy in Historical Perspective, and The Shari'a: A History of Islamic Law. At the law school, he has taught Islamic Law in the Modern Age.

Research Interests

History of Islam, medieval and modern; social, cultural and intellectual history; Islamic law; ritual practices; material culture; world trade; exchanges between Muslims and others