Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jeff A. Redding

Saint Louis University

Curriculum VitaeJeff Redding

Jeff A. Redding studied Economics and Sociology at Harvard University (B.A., magna cum laude) and holds a Juris Doctor (with honors) from the University of Chicago Law School. From 2000 to 2002, he worked in South Asia, first as a Visiting Research Associate at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan, then as a Member of the Adjunct Faculty of the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, and then as a Research Attorney for the Lawyers Collective in New Delhi, India. After this time in South Asia, Jeff A. Redding returned to the United States, becoming a Visiting Researcher at the Islamic Legal Studies Program of Harvard Law School, then a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School, and eventually an Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellow in Law at Yale Law School. He has also held positions as an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Law at the American University in Cairo and a Legal Consultant for the Lawyers Collective’s offices in Mumbai, India.

Since 2008, Jeff A. Redding has been working as an Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law, where he became Associate Professor in 2013. At Saint Louis University, he teaches Civil Procedure, Comparative Law, and a seminar on Legal Pluralism. While teaching at Saint Louis University, Professor Redding has also been invited to be a Chercheur at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, France (from December 2010 to June 2011) and a Visiting Professor at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France (from May 2012 until June 2012). From January until August 2014, Jeff A. Redding was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Project

The Rule and the Role of Islamic Law: Constituting Secular Law and Governance in Contemporary India

Islamic law’s relationship to secular governance has become a particularly fraught one in the contemporary period. Whether from the perspective of Islamic law’s advocates, secularism’s partisans, or publics caught in the two’s crossfire, few people see the relationship between Islam and secularism as anything but discordant. Moreover, the relationship between Islamic law and secularism seems increasingly antagonistic, with recent developments in the United States (e.g. social conservatives advocating ‘shari‘a amendments’ to state constitutions), Europe (e.g. member-states putting legal limitations on headscarves and mosques alike), and the Arab Middle East (e.g. conflicts between secularist old-guards and Islamist revolutionaries) indicating that unsteady and cold co-existences have increasingly transformed into outright heated hostilities. While North America, Europe, and the Arab Middle East are the sites of intense struggle between secularists and those sympathetic to Islamic legalism, in many ways, these particular struggles are relatively over-determined and intellectually uninteresting. For example, in North America and Europe, Islamic law is a relative newcomer and has been deeply marginalized by entrenched and powerful secularists. Conversely, in the Middle East, the birthplace of Islam (and other Abrahamic faiths), the West’s secular ideals have seemed utopian and historically tendentious—an unstable and ineffective relic of an out-of-touch colonialism. As a result, another location in which to explore secularism, Islam, and their complex interactions would seem to be much more intriguing, as well as necessary.

My book project “The Rule and the Role of Islamic Law: Constituting Secular Law and Governance in Contemporary India” chooses contemporary India as such a site, given that what is entrenched in India is not merely secularism or religion but, also, an especially lively debate between secularists and religious people of all persuasions, including Muslims. In focusing on India—and, in particular, the multifaceted operations of a system of non-state, Muslim dispute resolution service providers known as the dar ul qaza system—this book aims to challenge conventional and powerful narratives about the inevitable opposition between Islamic law and secular forms of governance. Indeed, this book will do this challenging work by examining the role that Islamic law plays in constituting the secular state in one crucially important Islamo-secular context, namely that of India.

Selected Publications

  • The Rule and the Role of Islamic Law: Constituting Secular Law and Governance in Contemporary India (in progress).
  • The Case of Ayesha, Muslim ‘Courts’, and the Rule of Law: Some Ethnographic Lessons for Legal Theory, in: Modern Asian Studies (peer-reviewed) (forthcoming 2013).
  • From ‘She-Males’ to ‘Unix’: Transgender Rights and the Productive Paradoxes of Pakistani Policing, in: Daniela Berti & Devika Bordia (eds.): Anthropology of Criminal Cases in South Asia (forthcoming 2013).
  • Islamic Law in South Asia: A Testament to Diversity, entry in: Anver Emon & Kristen A. Stilt (eds.): Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law (forthcoming 2013).
  • Secularism, the Rule of Law, and ‘Shari‘a Courts’: An Ethnographic Examination of a Constitutional Controversy, in: Saint Louis University Law Journal, 57/2, pp. 339-376, 2013.
  • What American Legal Theory Might Learn from Islamic Law: Some Lessons from ‘Shari‘a Court’ Practice in India, in: University of Colorado Law Review, 83, pp. 1027-1063, 2012.
  • Dignity, Legal Pluralism, and Same-Sex Marriage, in: Brooklyn Law Review, 75, pp. 791-863, 2010.
  • Slicing the American Pie: Federalism and Personal Law, in: New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, 40, pp. 941-1018, 2008.
  • Plural Legal Systems and Equality: The Pakistani Experience, in: Indira Jaising (ed.): Men’s Laws, Women’s Lives: A Constitutional Perspective on Religion, Common Law and Culture in South Asia, pp. 138-172, 2005.