Dr Morgan Clarke

Associate Professor in Social Anthropology

Fellow of Keble College

Arabic-speaking Middle East, Islam, law, (bio)ethics, kinship, modernity.

Morgan Clarke is an anthropologist of the Arabic-speaking Middle East with a particular interest in contemporary Islam, especially Islamic law and its relationship to positive law, secular ethics and the civil state. His fieldwork to date has been in Lebanon (2003-4, 2007-8). His doctoral work (Oxford, 2006) focused on Islamic bioethics, concerning assisted reproduction in particular, and was published as Islam and new kinship: reproductive technology and the shariah in Lebanon (Berghahn, 2009). His subsequent and current work examines the social life of the sharia and Islamic religious authority more generally.


Email: morgan.clarke@anthro.ox.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 612364

Morgan will be on leave from January to September 2018 and therefore the Middle East option course will not run in 2017-18.

Morgan Clarke's current book project, developed through postdoctoral work at Cambridge (British Academy PDF, 2006-9) and Manchester (Simon Research Fellowship, 2009-11), is an ethnography of sharia discourse in Lebanon, focusing on the sharia (family law) courts and their relationship to non-state Islamic institutions. That involved fieldwork in both Sunni and Shi‘i contexts, including mosques, Sufi circles and the offices of major religious authorities, most notably Lebanon’s late Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. With regard to the latter, Clarke has an enduring interest in Shi‘i Islam and in 2012-14 was awarded an Oxford-Princeton Collaborative Grant (with Prof. Mirjam Künkler) on a project entitled “Traditional authority and transnational religious networks in contemporary Shi‘i Islam: Results from recent empirical research”.

As well as contributing to the anthropology of Islam and the Middle East, Clarke’s research engages with both the anthropology of law and the new anthropology of ethics. He welcomes applications for doctoral research and other collaborations in any of those areas.

Islam and New Kinship

2016       After the Ayatollah: routinisation and succession in the marja‘iyya of Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. Die Welt des Islams 56(2): 153-186.

2015       Legalism and the care of the self: shari‘ah discourse in contemporary Lebanon. In Paul Dresch and Judith Scheele (eds.), Legalism: rules and categories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2014   Cough sweets and angels: the ordinary ethics of the extraordinary in Sufi practice in Lebanon. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 20(3): 407-425.

2013       Integrity and commitment in the anthropology of Islam. In Magnus Marsden and Kostas Retsikas (eds.), Articulating Islam: anthropological approaches to Muslim worlds. New York: Springer.

2012    The judge as tragic hero: judicial ethics in Lebanon’s shari‘a courtsAmerican Ethnologist 39(1): 106-121.

2011      (Co-authored with Marcia Inhorn.) Mutuality and immediacy between marja‘ and muqallid: evidence from male IVF patients in Shi‘i Lebanon. International Journal of Middle East Studies 43(3): 409-427.

2010       Neo-calligraphy: religious authority and media technology in contemporary Shiite Islam. Comparative Studies in Society and History 52(2): 351-383.

2009    Islam and new kinship: reproductive technology and the shariah in Lebanon. New York: Berghahn Books.

  • De-centring Shii Islam

  • Making a centre in the periphery: the legitimation of Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah's Beirut Marjaiyya

  • Comment

  • Donor Human Milk for Muslim Infants in the United Kingdom

  • Donor human milk for Muslim infants in the UK.

  • After the Ayatollah: Institutionalisation and Succession in the marja'iyya of Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allāh

  • 'Islamic bioethics' in tra nsnational perspective

  • Legalism and the care of the self: shari'ah discourse in contemporary Lebanon

  • The Social Politics of Islamic Bioethics

  • Cough sweets and angels: the ordinary ethics of the extraordinary in Sufi practice in Lebanon

  • More
List of site pages