Asifa Quraishi-Landes

Asifa Quraishi-Landes

Fellow: Awarded 2012
Field of Study: Constitutional Studies

Competition: US & Canada

University of Wisconsin Law School

Asifa Quraishi-Landes is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School where she teaches courses in Islamic law and American constitutional law.  She has a reputation for illuminating and creative explanations of complex and unfamiliar topics, a talent exhibited in both oral and written form.

A 2009 Carnegie Scholar, Quraishi-Landes’ published work addresses comparative Islamic and American constitutional theory, as well as issues relating to Islamic law and women.  Some recent titles are “On Fallibility and Finality: Why Thinking Like a Qadi Helps Me Understand American Constitutional Law” and “What if Sharia Weren’t the Enemy: Re-Thinking International Women’s Rights Activism and Islamic Law.”

Quraishi-Landes’ expertise is regularly solicited by organizations such as the Center for American Progress, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.  She was also a Public Delegate on the 2010 United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Quraishi-Landes holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School and other degrees from Columbia Law School and the University of California (Berkeley and Davis), and has served as a law clerk in the federal Court of Appeals.  Today, she serves on a variety of nonprofit and professional organizations, including the governing boards of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), the Journal of Law and Religion, and the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Islamic Law.  She is also an affiliate of the Muslim Women’s League, past President and Board Member of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, a Fellow with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, and a member of the "Opinion Leaders Network" for the British Council.

Quraishi-Landes’ current focus of research is modern Islamic constitutional theory.  Her most recent publication in this field was a chapter in the Max Planck Institute’s edited collection Constitutionalism in Islamic Countries: Between Upheaval and Continuity (Oxford UP,  2011).  Her Guggenheim Fellowship will support progress on a book manuscript that seeks to articulate a way out of the current war between secularism and Islamism in Muslim-majority countries, by providing a constitutional framework that answers both the Muslim impulse for a sharia-based government, as well as secular desires for a non-theocratic system that can respect international human rights.  The tentative title of the book is: “Islamic Constitutionalism for the 21st Century: Not Theocratic.  Not Secular.  Not Impossible.”


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