Baber Johansen

Baber Johansen

Professor of Islamic Religious Studies
Baber Johansen

PhD, Habilitation in Islamic Studies, Freie Unviersität Berlin

Baber Johansen was appointed Professor of Islamic Religious Studies at Harvard Divinity School in 2005. He was directeur d'études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre d'étude des normes juridiques), Paris (1995-2005), and Professor for Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (1972-1995). In addition to his professorship at Harvard Divinity School, in July 2006 he was appointed an affiliated professor at Harvard Law School and acting director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program for 2006 to 2010. His research and teaching focus on the relationship between religion and law in the classical and the modern Muslim world. He is particularly interested in the role that religious and legal systems assign to the practices of laypeople as factors that exert an influence on the interpretation of sacred norms. His book Muhammad Husain Haikal Europa und der Orient im Weltbild eines ägyptischen Liberalen (1967) examines twentieth-century liberal interpretations of Islam; Islam und Staat (1982) looks at modern Muslim debates on state models; and Islamic Law on Land Tax and Rent (1988) considers long-term changes in classical and postclassical legal doctrine. Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim Fiqh (1999) introduces the relation between law and theology in Islam and Western efforts to analyze both forms of knowledge. Johansen was twice elected a member of the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and has been a visiting professor at the Watson Institute (Providence), Harvard University, and Ca' Foscari (Venice). He is one of the three executive editors of Islamic Law and Society, serves on the editorial boards of a number of French and Lebanese periodicals, and has published about 60 articles in international journals.

Professor Johansen is currently teaching.

Contact Information

Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138

office hours: see Harvard Divinity School

Profile Type

Research Area