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I am a legal anthropologist and a social historian, specializing in the study of Islamic law, and in particular, in the study of shari'a courts. My fields of interest include: Shari'a law, legal pluralism, medieval and modern Egypt, and the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel. I teach and publish about these topics. 

My recently published book, Legal Pluralism in the Holy Coty: Competing Courts, Forum Shopping and Institutional Dynamics in Jerusalem (Ashgate, 2015) provides a portrayal of a shari'a court in contemporary West Jerusalem, which belongs to the Israeli legal system but serves Palestinian residents of the eastern part of the city. Based on participant observations in the studied court as well as on court cases and rulings, the book draws a rich picture of an intriguing institution, which operates in an environment marked by exceptional political and cultural tensions and far-reaching legal pluralism. The book offers fresh perspectives on the phenomenon of legal pluralism, on shari'a law in practice and on Palestinian-Israeli relations in the divided city of Jerusalem. 

In addition to my continuous interest in Islamic law and in shari'a courts, I am also engaged in several other research projects: Together with Prof. Yossi Rapoport (Queen Mary, University of London), we are completing an annotated translation of Abu 'Uthman al-Nabulusi's  Ta'arikh al-Fayyum (under contract in Brepols publishers); I am conducting an ethnographic study of the Cairo International Book Fair; and with the support of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TAU), I am engaged in research into communal mechanisms of dispute resolution among Arab-Palestinians in the Galilee.  
  • Personal Information
  • Courses
    Courses Taught in Recent Years





    Type of Course


    Workshop/High Learn Course/ Introduction Course (Mandatory)

    Name of Course



    Lecture, Department of Middle East Studies, BGU

    Law, Society, and Culture in Muslim Societies



    Introductory course (mandatory), Department of Middle East Studies, BGU

    Learning Skills


    BA & MA

    Lecture, Faculty of Law, TAU, HUJI

    Anthropology of Law



    Introductory course, Department of Middle East Studies, BGU

    Research Methodology



    Lecture, MAPMES, BGU

    Anthropology of the Middle East



    Seminar, Middle Eastern History,


    Law, Society &  Culture in Muslim Societies




    Introduction to the ME



    Class+ Targil

    Social History of the ME




    Palestinian Society




    Egypt in the Modern Era




    Islamic Law




    Israel in the Middle East (with Prof. Eppel)


  • Publications
    IDO SHAHAR – List of Publications

    (Dec. 2015)


    A.   Scientific Books (Refereed)


    Authored Books


    * Shahar, I. (2015). Legal pluralism in the Holy City: Competing Courts, Forum Shopping, and Institutional Dynamics in Jerusalem. London: Ashgate, 225 pp.


                        Authored Books – Under contract


    *  Rapoport, Y. and Shahar, I. Annotated translation of al-Nabulusi's Ta'arikh al-Fayyum (vol. 1 of The Peasants of the Fayyum: Rural Society in Medieval Islam, by Yossef Rapoport), contracted to be published by Brepols. To be submitted on May 2016 (estimated number of Pps. 250)


                       Edited Books and Special Journal Issues - Published

     1.   Shahar, I. (ed.). (2002-2004). Jama'a: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Middle East, Ben Gurion University. Vols. 9-12 (in Hebrew). V.            

    2.   Agmon, I. and Shahar, I. (eds.). (2008) Special issue of Islamic Law and Society (Volume 15, 1). V.  

    *3. Sartori, P. and Shahar, I. (eds.). (Oct. 2012) Muslim legal pluralism under colonial rule, double theme issue of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (volume 55, 4-5). V.


    B.  Articles in Refereed Journals



     1.   Shahar, I. (1997). Trilemma in court: The shari’a court in Beer-Sheva as a convergence point of three law systems. Jama’a 1, 11-35 [in Hebrew]. V.  

    2.   Shahar, I. (2004). Modernizer and guardian of tradition: The status of women in the Israeli shari'a court of West Jerusalem. Hamizrah Hehadash 44, 195-212 [in Hebrew]. V.  

    3.   Shahar, I. (2008). Legal pluralism and the study of shari‘a courts. Islamic Law and Society 15 (1), 112-141. V.  

    4.   Agmon, I. and Shahar, I. (2008). Shifting perspectives in the study of shari'a courts: Methodologies and paradigms. Islamic Law and Society 15 (1), 1-19.  V.  

    5.   Shahar, I. (2008). State, society and the relations between them: Implications for the study of legal pluralism. Theoretical Inquiries in Law 9 (2), 417-441.  V.  

    6.   Rapoport, Y. and Shahar, I. (2012) Irrigation in medieval Islamic Fayyum: Local control in a large scale hydraulic system.  Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 55 (1), 1-31. V. 

    *7.  Sartori, P and Shahar, I. (Oct. 2012). Legal Pluralism in Muslim-Majority Colonies: Mapping the Terrain. Journal of the Economic and Social History of  the Orient 56 (4-5): 637-663. V.

     *8.   Shahar, I. (Dec. 2012). Legal Pluralism Incarnate: An Institutional Perspective on Courts of Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Settings. Journal of Legal Pluralism 65, 133-163.  

    *9.   Shahar, I. (2013). A Tale of Two Courts: How Organizational Ethnography Can Shed New Light on Legal Pluralism. Political and Legal Anthropology Review 36, 1: 118-137.  V.

     *9. Shahar, I. (2015). Legal Sovereignty in Theory and Practice: A Look at the Interrelations between the Israeli and Jordanian Shari'a Courts in Jerusalem. MADAR: The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies [in Arabic].


    *10. Shahar, I. (2015). Islamic Law as Indigenous Law: The Shari'a Courts in Israel from a Post-Colonial Perspective. Journal of Levantine Studies 5,1: 83-106. V.


                Accepted for Publication


    *11.  Shahar, I. (Forthcoming). "Standing at the Barricades of Patriarchy: The Israeli Shari'a Courts and the Appointment of Women Arbitrators", The Family in Law (aprox.25 pp.) [in Hebrew]. V.


     CArticles or Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Books



     1.   Shahar, I. (1999). Reading and Rereading in Nations and Nationalism,” Israeli- Palestinian Student Interaction Project (pp. 99-109). Jerusalem: Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Harry S. Truman Institute and Palestine Consultancy Group.  

    2.   Shahar, I. (2002). Jerusalem/Al-Quds: The dialectic of the symbolic and the material. In S.N. Eisenstadt, R. Brayer-Garb, and T. Kohavi (Eds.), Collective identities, public sphere and political order (pp. 100-108). Jerusalem: The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (in Hebrew).  

    3.   Shahar, I. (2007). Legal reform, interpretive communities, and the quest for legitimacy: A contextual analysis of a legal circular. In R. Shaham (Ed.), Law, custom and statute in the Muslim world: Studies in honor of Aharon Layish (pp. 198-227). Leiden: Brill.  

         *3b. Shahar, I. (2014). Intersecting dialogues: Alimonies, constraints and degrees of freedom in the work of Muslim judges in Israeli shari'a courts. In H. Herzog and A. Lapidoth-Pirila (Eds.), Theseus's Paradox: Gender, Religion and State (pp. 283-311). Jerusalem: Van Leer and Hakibutz Hameuhad [in Hebrew].  

    *4.   Shahar, I. (2013). Forum shopping between civil and sharī‘a courts: Maintenance suits in contemporary Jerusalem. In K. Benda-Beckmann, F. Benda-Beckmann, B. Turner and M. Ramstadt (Eds.), Religion in disputes:         Pervasiveness of Religious Normativity in Disputing Processes  (pp. 147-164). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

                Accepted for Publication 

    *5.  Shahar, I. (Forthcoming). Notes on the Cultural Characteristics of the Shari'a Courts in Israel. In M. Hatina and M. Al-Ataune (Eds.), Islam in Israel (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuhad.

     *6.   Shahar, I. (Forthcoming) Shari'a courts in Israel: A Post-Colonial Perspective. In L. Kozma and Hiba Yazbak (Eds.), Personal Status of Palestinian Women in Israel (Tentative Title, in Hebrew). Tel Aviv: Resling.


            D. Entries in Encyclopedias

     *1.   Shahar, I. (2014). Pluralism, legal. In J. Brown (Ed.), The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Islam and law. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press [3000 words].

              E.  Other Publications 

    1.   Shahar, I. (2000). Live and die as Eva Braun: The holocaust discourse in Israel as reflected in Roee Rosen's Exhibition.  Resling: A Multidisciplinary Stage for Culture 7, 38-50 [in Hebrew].

     2.   Shahar, I. (2002). Academic literature on the Negev's bedouins in the last decade: Trends and directions. Notes on the Bedouins 23, 40-54. [In Hebrew].


            F.  Other Works Connected with my Scholarly Field

    1. (2005) Scientific editing of Beer Sheva: The Fourth City, by Eitan Cohen. Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing (344 pp).


  • Participation in Conferences
  • More Info
    1.    Higher Education


     A.    Undergraduate and Graduate Studies


    Year of Approval of Degree


    Name of Institution

    and Department

    Period of Study



    BGU, Middle East Studies, Behavioral Sciences




    HUJI, Sociology and Anthropology




    BGU, Middle East Studies



    B. Post-Doctoral Studies


    Year of Completion


    Name of Institution, Department and Host

    Period of Study


    Yonathan Shapiro Fellowship

    TAU, Sociology and Anthropology (Supervisor: Prof. Dan Rabinowitz)



    Golda Meir Fellowship

    HUJI, Sociology and Anthropology (Supervisor: Prof. Tamar Elor)



    Associate Fellowship

    University of Oxford, Oxford Centre for Socio-legal Studies



    Research Fellowship

    School of History, Queen Mary University of London (Supervisor: Dr. Yossef Rapoport)




          C. Academic Ranks and Tenure in Institutes of Higher Education


    2012 -    Lecturer, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Haifa.     

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