Dr. Valentino Cattelan

Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance, IE Business School, Madrid

Curriculum Vitae

Valentino Cattelan (Ph.D in Law & Economics, Siena 2009) is a legal scholar with a specific interest in comparative studies and a focus on Islamic law, economics and finance. Since 2016 he has been Research Associate at the Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (SCIEF), IE Business School (Madrid, Spain).  Prior to this he held research and teaching positions at the University of Rome Tor Vergata (2010-2013); the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (2014); and the University of Florence (2015). In 2017 he served as a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Department of Law & Anthropology) in Halle (Germany); he also taught the module “Islamic Law, Ethics and Society” in the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.
Dr. Valentino Cattelan holds an LL.B.+LL.M. (Laurea in Italian Law), and an LL.M. (Comparative Law) from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He later earned a Ph.D. in Law & Economics (2009) from the University of Siena, with a dissertation on the topic Babel, Islamic Contract Law and Derivatives. How to Structure Shari‘ah-Compliant Financial Options. During the time of his doctoral degree, in 2008, he was also a visiting researcher at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
He is the author of several journal articles and book contributions on Islamic classical fiqh, the law of Islamic finance, Islamic property rights and the epistemology of Islamic economics. Moreover, he is the editor of the volumes Islamic Finance in Europe: Towards a Plural Financial System (Edward Elgar, 2013) and Islamic Social Finance: Entrepreneurship, Cooperation and the Sharing Economy (Routledge, forthcoming 2018).

From April to September 2018 Dr. Valentino was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Interests

His research work intersects law, economics, culture and religion, with a particular emphasis on the comparison between Western capitalism and Islamic finance, the Western and the Islamic legal traditions, their underlying rationales as well as distinctive anthropologies.

Research Project

From the Island of Stone Money to the Archipelago of Islamic Finance. Reading Mangan’s Limits to Growth as an Exploration into Law, Economy and Cultures

Dr Cattelan’s research project aims at exploring the connection between law and economy from an inter- and trans-cultural perspective. More precisely, it looks at the “archipelago” of Islamic finance as a socio-economic space of legal hybridization and cultural exchange (with consequent phenomena of encounter, conflict and reconciliation among different legal cultures) to draw interpretive clues about the patterns of differentiation cultures practiced in contemporary capitalism.
To this objective, the project takes inspiration from the artwork by Nicholas Mangan Limits to Growth, 2016 (as displayed at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin in June-August 2017), and the conceptual relationship that it makes between the ancient Yapese currency, rai, in the form of stone money, and the contemporary crypto-currency of bitcoins. Their juxtaposed story of production, consumption and circulation, as well as of re-evaluation, is extended to Islamic finance as an archipelago of meaning where monetary value, although originally “carved” via (closed) criteria of “shari‘ah compliance,” is “sold” to the (open) market through state-law mechanisms and by following practices of standardization, secularisation and “otherness” that inherently belong to modern capitalism.
Within this background, inter-linked issues of legal hybridization as a “threat” to the differentiation culture of Islamic finance and the corresponding persistence of a “shari‘ah risk” related to the products exchanged by the “sailors” of this archipelago are explored in the light of the conceptual and methodological means of the Humanities. In particular, the project highlights the extent to which both the “merchants of Venice” and the “merchants of Mecca” that navigate this market are subject to identical strong “winds” of transnational and cross-cultural socio-economic interaction, and hence of formulation and re-formulation of meaning in the open global market.

Publications (selected)

  • Cattelan, V. (forthcoming, 2018, ed.), Islamic Social Finance: Entrepreneurship, Cooperation and the Sharing Economy, London and New York: Routledge
  • Cattelan, V. (2017), “Between theory(-ies) and practice(-s): legal devices (hiyal) in classical Islamic law”, Arab Law Quarterly, 31 (3), pp. 245-275
  • Cattelan, V. (2017), “Legal pluralism, property rights and the paradigm of Islamic economics”, JKAU: Islamic Economics, 30 (1), pp. 21-36
  • Cattelan, V. (2016), “Alice’s Adventures, abductive reasoning and the logic of Islamic law”, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 29 (2) (Special Issue “Islamic law: its sources, interpretation, its economics, finance and the translation between it and laws written in English”), pp. 359-388
  • Cattelan, V. (2014), “In the Name of God: managing risk in Islamic finance”, Eabh Working Papers Series, no. 14-07, available at http://www.eabh.info/publications/eabhpapers, pp. 1-14
  • Cattelan, V. (2013, ed.), Islamic Finance in Europe: Towards a Plural Financial System. Studies in Islamic Finance, Accounting and Governance, Cheltenham, UK - Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.
  • Cattelan, V. (2013), “Property (mal) and credit relations in Islamic law: an explanation of dayn and the function of legal personality (dhimma)”, Arab Law Quarterly, 27 (2), pp. 189-202
  • Cattelan, V. (2011), “A new model for options in Islamic law”, in Hassan, K.M., & Mahlknecht, M. (eds.), Islamic Capital Markets: Products and Strategies, London: Wiley Int., pp. 201-217
  • Cattelan, V. (2010), “Islamic finance and ethical investments. Some points of reconsideration”, in Khan, M.F., & Porzio, M. (eds.), Islamic Banking and Finance in the European Union. A Challenge, Cheltenham, UK - Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, pp. 76-87
  • Cattelan, V. (2009), “From the concept of haqq to the prohibitions of riba, gharar and maysir in Islamic finance”, International Journal of Monetary Economics and Finance, 2(3/4), pp. 384-397