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Intisar A. Rabb is an assistant professor of law at Boston College Law School--where she teaches comparative Islamic law and legal history, advanced constitutional law, and criminal law--and a faculty affiliate in research at Harvard Law School, Islamic Legal Studies Program. As a Berkman Fellow, she will work with a team to develop islawmix, a project aimed at connecting news readers, media producers, and legal scholars with credible, authoritative information about trends in Islamic law.

Her research in comparative law and legal history combines an assessment of public or moral values with analyses of methods of legal interpretation in different systems of law. Her articles include studies of legal maxims and interpretive methods in Islamic law, Islamic constitutionalism and the role of the jurists in Muslim-majority countries, and the early history of the Qur'anic text. She is also a 2010 Carnegie Scholar, awarded a grant for her research on "Islamic Law and Legal Change: The Internal Critique," which examines criminal law reform in the Muslim world.

Rabb received a BA with honors from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where her dissertation--which won the Princeton NES Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Thesis Prize for Best PhD Dissertation--focused on the history and function of legal maxims in Islamic law. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, and subsequently worked with members of the bench and bar in the U.K. as a Temple Bar Scholar through the American Inns of Court. Rabb has traveled for research to Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere. She speaks Arabic and Persian and has reading proficiency in French, German, and Spanish.

View her research on her SSRN Author page:

Projects & Tools


The Berkman Center is hosting islawmix, an effort focusing on the media and policy landscape where Islam and the news mix. More


Sep 27, 2016 @ 4:00 PM

Power and Participation in the Networked Public Sphere

with John Palfrey, Yochai Benkler, Intisar Rabb, Zeynep Tufekci, Catherine Bracy, and Jonathan Zittrain

A creative discussion about the impact of the networked public sphere on global events, power dynamics, and our society at large, and how that influence may be changing in years… More

Oct 4, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

islawmix: content and context for Islamic law in the news

Intisar Rabb, Berkman Center Fellow / Boston College Law School & Umbreen Bhatti, islawmix Co-Founder

Islamic law (“sharīʿa”) now seems to matter for issues of American law and policy. But what sources do we have for finding out just what Islamic law is? As the latest Berkman… More