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Call for Papers: Succession in Islamic Law

The conference addresses the role succession law played in Muslim communities in the past, how it unfolds today and what it implies for future generations.

While family law has received extensive attention in Islamic law scholarship, succession law, often dubbed as the last bastion of the supposed immutability of Islamic law, has not been subject to similar scrutiny. This is surprising, given that rules and practices regarding succession are strongly intertwined with family structures and the economy.

We follow a broad definition of succession law, one encompassing all forms of transfer of property between generations. This also includes phenomena not usually associated with succession law, like family foundations (awqāf) or forms of inter vivos transfer of property. We invite submissions that address the intergenerational transfer of property in various historical and regional contexts. Our aim is to bring together different methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives (especially from law, history, economics, anthropology, Middle Eastern/regional studies, gender studies and sociology).

Important Data

Conference Date:  30 to 31 March 2023

Proposal Deadline: 15 September 2022

Venue: Hamburg, Germany

We are particularly, but not exclusively, interested in:

  1. The formation of Islamic succession law.
  2. Islamic succession law in the modern nation state.
  3. The intergenerational transfer of property inter vivos and mortis causa through wills, contracts and/or donations.
  4. Inter-religious succession law.
  5. The role of the family waqf.
  6. Succession among Muslim minority communities.

Paper Submission: Papers should be based on original, unpublished research. We welcome contributions from scholars of all stages of their career. Please send the abstract of your proposed paper (up to 300 words) by 15 September 2022, to Ms Tess Chemnitzer (chemnitzer@mpipriv.de). We will conduct a blind peer review and send out decisions by 1 October 2022. Publication plans and options will be discussed during the conference.

Organization: The Succession in Islamic Law-Conference is being organized by the Research Group “Changes in God’s Law – An Inner-Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws” at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany. The conference will take place in person in Hamburg, 30-31 March 2023. The program includes a keynote lecture by David Powers (Cornell University).

Funding: We will provide funding for all presenters (travel costs and accommodation).

Max Planck Working Group “IGTOPI”: After the conference, interested participants will be invited to join the Max Planck Working Group on the Intergenerational Transfer of Property in Islam (IGTOPI), which is currently being set up. The Working Group will host meetings, provide a platform to exchange ideas and offer opportunities to collaborate on future publications to further the study of Islamic succession law.

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