Faculty Book Talk: Intisar Rabb’s Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Intisar Rabb’s recently published book, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law. 

Wednesday April 8, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Intisar A. Rabb is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. She also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She previously served as an Associate Professor at NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and at NYU Law School, as Visiting Associate Professor of Islamic Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and as a member of the law faculty at Boston College Law School—where she has taught courses in criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law. She also served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was named a 2010 Carnegie Scholar for research on issues of Islamic constitutionalism and contemporary law reform through processes of “internal critique” in the Muslim world, and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard for a project designed to add scholarly context to ongoing discussions of Islamic law in new media. She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, including an edited volume, Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought (with Michael Cook et al., Palgrave 2013), and numerous articles on Islamic constitutionalism, Islamic legal maxims, and on the early history of the Qur’an text. She received a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MA and PhD from Princeton University. She has conducted research in Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere.

Doubt in Islamic Law

“This book considers an important and largely neglected area of Islamic law by exploring how medieval Muslim jurists resolved criminal cases that could not be proven beyond a doubt. Intisar A. Rabb calls into question a controversial popular notion about Islamic law today, which is that Islamic law is a divine legal tradition that has little room for discretion or doubt, particularly in Islamic criminal law. Despite its contemporary popularity, that notion turns out to have been far outside the mainstream of Islamic law for most of its history. Instead of rejecting doubt, medieval Muslim scholars largely embraced it. In fact, they used doubt to enlarge their own power and to construct Islamic criminal law itself. Through a close examination of legal, historical, and theological sources, and a range of illustrative case studies, this book shows that Muslim jurists developed a highly sophisticated and regulated system for dealing with Islam’s unique concept of doubt, which evolved from the seventh to the sixteenth century.” — Cambridge University Press

The book talk panel includes:

Roy Mottahedeh

 

 

 

Roy Mottahedeh
Gurney Professor of Islamic History
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Harvard University

 

Adriaan Lanni

 

 

 

 

Adriaan
Professor of Law 
Harvard Law School

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Bag: PACER Campaign with Carl Malamud

Come hear about the Yo.YourHonor.Org campaign!
Brown Bag with cookies
Monday, April 6th, 12:30-1:30pm
Lewis 214B, Harvard Law School (maps)

Carl Malamud is visiting the Library to talk about the Yo.YourHonor.Org campaign currently underway to make U.S. District Court documents on the PACER system much more broadly available.

Carl Malamud is the founder of Public.Resource.Org, a non-profit that helps make the law more broadly available on the Internet. Working with Larry Lessig and Creative Commons, Public Resource made historical opinions of the U.S. Court of Appeals available for the first time. Working with Aaron Swartz, Public Resource did a comprehensive audit of District Court dockets for privacy violations. In the 1990s, Carl was responsible for putting the SEC’s EDGAR database and the U.S. Patent database on the Internet. Carl is the author of 8 professional reference books and is credited as the operator of the first radio station on the Internet. He received the Berkman Award in 2008. You might remember seeing him during our Law.gov events and Future of Law Libraries conference a few years back.

Faculty Book Talk: Gabriella Blum’s The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones? — Confronting A New Age of Threat, Wed. April 1 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Gabriella Blum’s recently published book with Benjamin Wittes,  The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones? — Confronting A New Age of Threat.

Gabriella Blum is the Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School, specializing in public international law, international negotiations, the law of armed conflict, and counterterrorism. She is also the Co-Director of the HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security and a member of the Program on Negotiation Executive Board.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in the fall of 2005, Blum served for seven years as a Senior Legal Advisor in the International Law Department of the Military Advocate General’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces, and for another year, as a Strategy Advisor to the Israeli National Security Council.

Blum is the author of Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries, (Harvard University Press, 2007), and of Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists (MIT Press, 2010) (co-authored with Philip Heymann and recipient of the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize), as well as of journal articles in the fields of public international law and the law and morality of war.

Benjamin Wittes is senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and the editor-in-chief of Lawfare.

Wednesday April 1, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Future of Violence

“From drone warfare in the Middle East to digital spying by the National Security Agency, the U.S. government has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to awesome effect. But what happens when ordinary people have the same tools at their fingertips? Advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to potentially dangerous technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological agents—which could be used to attack states and private citizens alike.

In The Future of Violence, law and security experts Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum detail the myriad possibilities, challenges, and enormous risks present in the modern world, and argue that if our national governments can no longer adequately protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Consequently, governments, companies, and citizens must rethink their security efforts to protect lives and liberty. In this brave new world where many little brothers are as menacing as any Big Brother, safeguarding our liberty and privacy may require strong domestic and international surveillance and regulatory controls. Maintaining security in this world where anyone can attack anyone requires a global perspective, with more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police their own people. Drawing on political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond, Wittes and Blum show that, despite recent protestations to the contrary, security and liberty are mutually supportive, and that we must embrace one to ensure the other.

The Future of Violence is at once an introduction to our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists’ manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government must adapt in order to survive and protect us.” — Basic Books

Book talk panelists include:

Yochai Benkler

 

Professor Yochai Benkler, Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society

 

Jack Goldsmith

 

 

Professor Jack Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law

 

Jonathan Zittrain

Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Bemis Professor of International Law, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Faculty Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

 

Kirkus
“[An] ambitious…treatise regarding a particular terror of modern life: the increasing ubiquity of potential harm spawned by technological transformations…. The authors raise fascinating questions…. A thoughtful…Cassandra warning of great vulnerabilities disguised as gifts.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
“A book that manages to meld Hobbes, James Bond, science fiction, and Supreme Court decisions is a rare read. All the more impressive when it takes a complex set of urgent questions about the intersection of technology, security, and liberty, and offers insights and at least the beginnings of answers. Violence will be always with us, but its forms are changing in ways that challenge our ability to respond to and regulate it.”

Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum have written a compelling and provocative book about an important topic we have not adequately faced: managing catastrophic risk in a technologically advanced society. I strongly recommend this book even for people who will not agree with the authors’ conclusions.”

Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum provide a compelling and sobering argument that the rapid advancement and proliferation of new technologies—from cyber to biotech to robotics—have fundamentally altered our security. We face the prospect of a Hobbesian state of nature, where each individual is at once a figure of great power and great vulnerability. In this indispensable book, Wittes and Blum then tackle the staggering implications: What does this mean for the social contract between citizen and state and our traditional notions of liberty, privacy, and security? In short, can the modern state keep us safe?”

Early English Manor Rolls Go Online

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that we have begun a multi-year project to conserve and digitize our collection of English manor rolls. The rolls came to Harvard over a century ago, purchased in 1892 and 1893 by Harvard Professor William James Ashley (1860-1927) from London bookseller James Coleman. In 1925 the College Library transferred the collection to the Harvard Law School Library.

The manor roll collection consists of 170 court-rolls, account-rolls, and other documents from various manors, ranging in date from 1282 to 1770. The largest concentration comes from the manor of Moulton in Cheshire. Other manors represented are Odiham Hundred, Hampshire; Herstmonceaux, Sussex; Chartley, Staffordshire; and Onehouse, Suffolk. A limited number of materials in this collection are single-sheet charters and one item is a map of the manor of Shelly, Suffolk.

Manor roll 16A (2)

Detail of roll from Moulton, Cheshire 1518-1521 (Box 2, 16)

 

For a complete description of the collection, see the finding aid, which will change and grow as digital images of the rolls become available, and links to them, along with improved descriptions of the rolls will be added. We expect this primary resource will be of particular interest to legal and local historians, students of early modern English history, and genealogists, all of whom have already used the rolls in their research. We also hope that by putting the rolls online, they will reach a broader audience who may pursue research questions that have not previously encompassed the manor rolls. We welcome your suggestions for improved descriptions; email specialc@law.harvard.edu with your feedback.

Scanning Nuremberg: Ferocious courts and the electrical wolf

Post by Matt Seccombe, originally written December 2, 2014

Scanning Nuremberg shares the observations and insights of Matt Seccombe, Nuremberg Trials Project Metadata Manager/Document Analyst, as he analyzes documents for digitization as part of the HLS Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project website

The task for November was 12 files of prosecution evidence (document books 2 – 3L), holding 164 items and approximately 1410 pages.

The theme of the material is the increasing ferocity of the courts as the war progressed, with expanding jurisdiction of the People’s Courts and Special Courts and growing demands for death sentences to terrorize opponents of the regime. At the end of the war even this was considered inadequate, as political cases were turned over to courts martial for trial and execution, and at the very end it was just execution and no trial.

After the material on the general system in the earlier files, these files get into the details, where some permutations emerge from particular cases, which were well documented. Every system of power offers some points of leverage that can be manipulated. While expressions of doubt about the war were prosecuted as “defeatism” and an attack on military morale, one woman who was charged and convicted had friends who intervened in the appeals process. She was from an elite family, with powerful connections. While most appeals were from prosecutors seeking to change a prison sentence to a death sentence, hers was one of the very few successful defense appeals. Another “morale” crime was listening to Allied radio broadcasts, a capital offense. In one case, according to the official version, a patriotic housewife subordinated her family loyalties to her duty and told the police that her husband had been listening to London Radio. Trial and execution followed, as this was a charge he could not disprove. The rest of the file offers more details and a different scenario. This was an extremely unhappy couple, and a divorce would be difficult and slow; an accusation of a capital offense made for a simple and quick fix.

The issue of I and J: At one point in the trial transcript the prosecutor said (more or less), “I will now present evidence from document book 3-I.” Judge: “Don’t you mean 3-J?” The judge must have been looking at a copy of the document book, which definitely seems to say 3-J, with the letter written in by hand. Prosecutor: “No, this is 3-I; there is no 3-J.” I had followed the 3-J theory like the judge, but once the court accepted it as 3-I, that was it for the database too. This matters because we record the document book number/letter as part of the identification. Whatever the letter looks like (J), it means I. I added a note on this to the relevant entry. This set a record for the most time spent analyzing a single letter of the alphabet.

The case of the missing pages (and movie). One brief court session is missing from the transcript, with blank pages inserted. Fortunately there was some before-and-after discussion to identify what’s missing: the showing of a movie on the trial of the officers who tried to kill Hitler in 1944. An affidavit was introduced to identify the movie, which was coded as evidence NG 1019. The movie isn’t in the Case 3 document book, and it will be interesting to see what the NG set has for it, possibly a transcript of the movie’s text (NG1019a).

Mysterious phrase of the month: “annihilated by the electrical wolf on 5 November 1943” (NG 174). I haven’t found any explanation of what an electrical wolf was.

More about the Nuremberg Trials Project:

The Harvard Law School Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have already digitized NMT 1 (U.S.A. v. Karl Brandt et al.), NMT 2 (U.S.A. v. Erhard Milch), and NMT 4 (U.S.A. v. Pohl et al.), and we’re in the process of digitizing our remaining holdings. We expect to have NMT 3 (The Judges’ Trial) completed and available to the public by the summer of 2015.

Although the digitization of the remaining trials will also be complete by the end of this year, they will require analysis and tagging work before they can be released to the public.  We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding. For more information about this project, please contact Kim Dulin.

HLS access to National Law Journal and ALM publications

imgresGood news! The HLS community now has access to the National Law Journal, Supreme Court Brief, American Lawyer, and Corporate Counsel.

When you’re on campus, the regular URLs for each publication’s website should work seamlessly. While offsite, use the URLs above with your HUID/PIN to access full articles. You can also find the off-site links by searching for the publication titles in the Hollis catalogue.

Faculty Talk: Cass Sunstein on Nudging in the Real World, Wed. March 25 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a faculty talk to celebrate Professor Cass Sunstein’s recently published essay titled, Nudging:  A Very Short Guide, on Wednesday March 25, 2015 at 12:00 noon.   This brief essay offers a general introduction to the idea of nudging, along with a list of ten of the most important “nudges.” It also provides a short discussion of the question whether to create some kind of separate “behavioral insights unit,” capable of conducting its own research, or instead to rely on existing institutions.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Professor Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and books, including Republic.com (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (2001), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and most recently Why Nudge? (2014), Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014), and Wiser:  Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter (2015).

Nudging in the Real World

Spring classes on library resources and tools

Are you ready to spring into learning more about how library resources and tools can help you? If so, consider signing up for one of our upcoming research training classes. We’ll be having snacks and lunch at these sessions, so be sure to register!

Have thoughts about other class topics we should offer or timing of library classes? Please let us know!

Finding a Paper Topic
Wednesday, March 25, 5:00-5:30pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Michelle Pearse
Find a great paper topic using library resources for inspiration.
Register now

Efficient/Free/Low-cost Legal Research
Monday, April 6, 12:00-12:45pm; Stonehearth pizza will be served
Location: WCC room 3013
Taught by: Carli Spina
Planning on government, non-profit, or public interest work? Learn the best sites and tips for legal research that won’t cost a lot.
Register now

Citation Tools
Tuesday, April 7, 12:00-12:45pm; Otto’s pizza will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Claire DeMarco
Learn the pros and cons of Refworks and Zotero for storing and citing your research, plus learn how HLS’s new Perma.cc service can help preserve online sources in your citations.
Register now

Working with Hollis
Wednesday, April 8, 4:00-4:45pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Aslihan Bulut
Learn to get the most out of the Library’s catalogue Hollis+ in this class covering basic and advanced search techniques for books, articles, finding aids, images, and more, plus learn when Hollis Classic can be helpful.
Register now

Beyond Lexis & Westlaw: Other Legal Databases
Thursday, April 9, 4:00pm – 4:45pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Meg Kribble
Go beyond Lexis and Westlaw and learn how BNA, HeinOnline, Proquest Congressional, and other resources can be useful for research and helping you to stay current with the law.
Register now

Beyond Lexis and Westlaw: Non-legal Databases
Friday, April 10, 12:00-12:45pm; Otto’s pizza will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Jennifer Allison
Planning to do some interdisciplinary research? Learn search tips for general and specialty databases like Academic Search Premier, Business Source Complete, ERIC, Google Scholar, PsycINFO, PubMed, and others, plus how to find more databases.
Register now

Scanning Nuremberg: A unique meaning for “judicial reform”

Post by Matt Seccombe, originally written November 2014

Scanning Nuremberg shares the observations and insights of Matt Seccombe, Nuremberg Trials Project Metadata Manager/Document Analyst, as he analyzes documents for digitization as part of the HLS Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project website

NMT 3, The Justice Case [a.k.a. the Judges’ Trial]

When I began the trial analysis work at the beginning of October, all of the key materials were already in place—the Case 3 trial documents boxes, the trial transcript, and the “Green Set” of NMT trial reports—so I was able to start quickly, re-ordering some of the material, assembling basic information about Case 3 (the defendants, prosecutors, judges, main issues, etc.). I was able to begin document analysis after only one week of preparation—about one week faster than I had expected.

At the end of the month I had completed analysis of all the documents in the first box (15), including the indictment, prosecution briefs, opening and closing arguments, the tribunal’s decision and sentences (the most important document in the trial), and seven prosecution document books. These added up to 164 individual documents, so we now have more than 6000 documents in the database. The page count for the box is roughly 1700, giving an educated guess of about 12,750 pages for Case 3 as a whole.

Some patterns in the case are apparent. The evidence documents show that the defendants had not been shy about talking candidly about what they were up to during the war, such as various ways of killing captured Allied airmen (lynching by the local population, shooting by the army, or handing them over to the SS for execution), rather than sending them to POW camps as required by international law.

What is hard to absorb is that the judges and prosecutors consistently considered these actions to be a superior form of law and justice, so some of the most incriminating documents bear the title “judicial reform.” There is much discussion about Hitler’s policy (emphasized in a speech in 1942 as part of the war effort) of replacing traditional law and judicial decision-making with “authentically German” and Nazi principles and practices, and purging officials who were reluctant to go along or who had conflicting commitments. (This mind-set resembles that of the scientists and doctors in Case 1 who believed that by killing hostile or unwanted groups they were “healing” the body of the nation.)

The strangest item: One document says only “Missing 15-25,” and handling it was quite a challenge. This is a replacement page for an evidence document that had been included in a document book and then went missing, either by accident or by a decision to remove it (there’s no indication which was the case). The table of contents for the document book indicates what document had been there, so I have included the “Missing” page in the database, with a Note stating what evidence document had gone missing. Perhaps it will turn up elsewhere, or there may be some explanation of what had been done about it. This is the first document that has no substantive content, but it still has some form as a “ghost” of the missing text.

Next up: the second of three boxes of prosecution evidence.

More about the Nuremberg Trials Project:

The Harvard Law School Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have already digitized NMT 1 (U.S.A. v. Karl Brandt et al.), NMT 2 (U.S.A. v. Erhard Milch), and NMT 4 (U.S.A. v. Pohl et al.), and we’re in the process of digitizing our remaining holdings. We expect to have NMT 3 (The Judges’ Trial) completed and available to the public by the summer of 2015.

Although the digitization of the remaining trials will also be complete by the end of this year, they will require analysis and tagging work before they can be released to the public.  We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding. For more information about this project, please contact Kim Dulin.

Library hours for spring break 2015

We will have slightly shorter hours next week over spring break:

Saturday, March 14: 9 am – 6 pm

Sunday, March 15: 9 am – 6 pm

Monday, March 16−Thursday, March 19:  8 am – 11 pm

Friday, March 20: 8 am – 8 pm

Saturday Mar 21 9 am – 6 pm

As always, you will continue to have access to Harvard e-resources offsite using your HUID and PIN. You can ask us questions by email, chat, and text as well as find frequently asked library and research questions at our Ask a Librarian site.