Mirjam Künkler war von Juli 2021 bis Mai 2022 Fellow am Kolleg.
Mirjam Künkler studied Political Science, African Studies, Oriental Studies, and Economics at the Universities of Leipzig, Paris, and Cape Town. In 2008, she earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University, NY, with a dissertation on “Democratization, Islamic Thought, and Social Movements: Coalitional Success and Failure in Iran and Indonesia” under the mentorship of Charles Tilly, Alfred Stepan, and Said Arjomand. Subsequently, she taught Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University for many years. She has also been a guest professor at the University of Tehran, the Islamic State University of Makassar in Indonesia, and Université Paris Panthéon-Assas.
Künkler’s work focuses on Iranian and Indonesian politics and law. She has published on questions of law and constitutionalism in the two countries, Islamic authority, religious education, and religious political parties. Together with her colleague Mehrzad Boroujerdi, she founded the Iran Social Science Data Portal, the most visited international web portal for social science data on Iran. She is a member of the editorial boards of several journals, including the Cambridge Journal of Law and Religion, Iranian Studies, the Digest of Middle East Studies, the International Journal of Islam in Asia, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and Politics. She advises doctoral work on issues of Islamic law, Islamic constitutionalism, (female) religious authority in Islam, and issues in modern Iranian and Indonesian Studies.
Legal Pluralism in the Post-Colony
The project deals with legal pluralism in personal status law. A third of the world’s population currently lives under pluri-legal personal status systems, and no fewer than 53 states in Asia and Africa apply pluri-legal personal status law today. In most cases, these arrangements are remnants of colonial or imperial administrations. Partly because of that, many national leaders shortly after independence sought to phase out pluri-legal arrangements and unify their law as ‘one law for all’. Accordingly, the unification of legal systems became a major pillar of many postcolonial nation-building projects. Interestingly, by the 1970s and 1980s, many of these states re-introduced pluri-legal arrangements or formalized such arrangements where they had been phased out in the law, but had survived as social practices (e.g., families using informal arbitration councils in divorce and child custody cases rather than state-run family courts). The history of legal pluralism in personal status law in the 20th century therefore features two broad divergent trends: the unification of personal status law in the first 10-15 years after a country’s independence, and the subsequent re-pluralization of personal status law about 30 years later. This project seeks to examine and explain these two trends.
Künkler, Mirjam and Devin Stewart (eds.), Female Religious Authority in Shi‘i Islam, Edinburgh 2021.
Künkler, Mirjam and Hadi Enayat, The Rule of Law in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Power, Institutions, and Prospects for Reform, Cambridge, in press.
Künkler, Mirjam, John Madeley and Shylashri Shankar (eds.), ‘A Secular Age’ Beyond the West. Religion, Law and Multiple Secularities in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Cambridge 2018.
Künkler, Mirjam, Rule of Law or Rule by Law? Iran’s Bar Association as a pawn in Islamic-republican contestations, in: Silvia Tellenbach and Thoralf Hanstein (eds.), Beiträge zum Islamischen Recht XII (Leipziger Beiträge zur Orientforschung 36), Frankfurt a. M. 2017, 133-153.
Künkler, Mirjam, Constitutionalism, Islamic Law, and Religious Freedom in post-independence Indonesia, in: Asli Bali and Hanna Lerner (eds.), Religion in Constitution-Writing, Cambridge 2017, 179-206.
Künkler, Mirjam and Alfred Stepan (eds.), Al-Dimokratia va al-Islam fi Indonisia, Beirut 2015.