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Publication: An Islamic Court in Context: An Ethnographic Study of Judicial Reasoning

December 22, 2009

By Erin Stiles (University of Nevada, Reno), Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, ISBN 0230617409, 9780230617407, 256 pages.

An Islamic Court in Context is an ethnographic study of judicial reasoning and litigant activity in a family court in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Based on nearly two years of field research, the book focuses on how people understand and use Islamic legal ideas in marital disputes. Through a close look at several court cases, the book shows that Islamic judges (kadhis), clerks, and litigants reason using not only their understandings of Islamic law but also their views of real and ideal marital behavior, local authority, and the court's role in present-day Zanzibar.