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Morgan Clarke

Morgan Clarke is an anthropologist of the Arabic-speaking Middle East with a particular interest in contemporary Islam, especially Islamic law and its relationship to positive law, secular ethics and the civil state.

Morgan Clarke is an anthropologist, specialising in the Middle East. He teachs social anthropology within the university as a university lecturer and member of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, and as a tutor in anthropology here at Keble. He helps direct studies for Keble students studying for the degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology and Human Sciences.

Research Interests

His research focuses on the Arabic-speaking Middle East with a particular interest in contemporary Islam, especially Islamic law and its relationship to positive law, secular ethics and the civil state. His fieldwork to date has been in Lebanon (2003-4, 2007-8), although he has developing interests in the Arab Gulf States. His doctoral work (Oxford, 2006) focused on Islamic bioethics, concerning assisted reproduction in particular, and was published as Islam and new kinship: reproductive technology and the shariah in Lebanon (Berghahn, 2009). He continues to be interested in global medical, ethical and legal assemblages, and contribute to teaching in medical anthropology within the university and the college. His current book project, developed through postdoctoral work at Cambridge (British Academy PDF, 2006-9) and Manchester (Simon Research Fellowship, 2009-11), is an ethnography of sharia discourse in Lebanon, focusing on the sharia (family law) courts and their relationship to non-state Islamic institutions. That involved fieldwork in both Sunni and Shi‘i contexts, including mosques, Sufi circles and the offices of major religious authorities, most notably Lebanon’s late Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. With regard to the latter, He has an enduring interest in Shi‘i Islam, with recent and forthcoming publications on the impact of the Internet and other new media on the social construction of religious authority within the tradition.


  • De-centring Shii Islam

    Clarke, M, Kuenkler, M, 2018


    Volume:45, Issue: 1, pp.1 – 17

  • Making a centre in the periphery: the legitimation of Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah’s Beirut Marjaiyya, 2018Journal: BRITISH JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIESVolume:45 Issue: 1,pp.39 – 57
  • Donor Human Milk for Muslim Infants in the United KingdomClarke, M, Williams, T, Butt, M, Mohinuddin, S, Ogilvy-Stuart, A, Weaver, G, Shafi, M, 2016Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood, BMJ Publishing Group
  • ‘After the Ayatollah: Institutionalisation and Succession in the marja’iyya of Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allāh’ in Welt des Islams, 56(2) (2016), 153-186
  • The Social Politics of Islamic BioethicsClarke, M, Eich, T, Schreiber, J, 2015Journal: WELT DES ISLAMS

    Volume: 55, Issue: 3-4, pp.265 – 277

  • ‘Cough sweets and angels: the ordinary ethics of the extraordinary in Sufi practice in Lebanon’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 20 (2014), 407-425
  • ‘ Integrity and commitment in the anthropology of Islam’ in Articulating Islam: anthropological approaches to Muslim worlds, ed. M. Marsden and K. Retsikas (Springer, 2013)
  • ‘The judge as tragic hero: judicial ethics in Lebanon’s shari’a courts’ in American Ethnologist, 39(1) (2012), 106-21


  • ‘Islamic bioethics and religious politics in Lebanon’ in Islam and Assisted Reproductive Technologies, ed. Inhorn, M. and Tremayne, S (Berghahn, 2012)
  • (Co-authored with M. Inhorn), ‘Mutuality and immediacy between marja’ and muqallid: evidence from male in vitro fertilization patients in Shi’i Lebanon’ in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 43 (2011), 409-427
  • ‘Neo-calligraphy: religious authority and media technology in contemporary Shiite Islam’ in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 52 (2010), 351-383
  • Islam and New Kinship: Reproductive Technology and the Shariah in Lebanon (Oxford: Berghahn, 2009)
  • ‘New kinship, Islam and the liberal tradition: sexual morality and new reproductive technology in Lebanon’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 14 (2008), 153-169

College Contact Details

Dr Morgan Clarke, Keble College
O, xford, OX1 3PGUK
Telephone: 01865 272727
Fax: 01865 272705
Email: morgan.clarke@keble.ox.ac.uk

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