September 6, 2017

Law and Social Change for Students


The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World (PLS) invites Harvard Law School students to submit travel grant proposals to secure funding for proposed research trips related to work on or the study of Islamic law. All projects associated with Islamic law or with legal systems that entail a component of Islamic law qualify, internships included. We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in projects focusing on human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, minority rights, animal welfare, constitutional law, food law, environmental law and climate change, migration and refugee studies, and related areas.

The Program distributes a limited number of awards on a competitive basis, up to a maximum of $1,000 per student. Selected grantees may use PLS travel grants to supplement an award from another source. All application materials should be submitted via the online application process by Friday, November 15.

Students who receive a PLS travel grant must acknowledge support of the grant in all written documentation relating to the research results, including future publications – which they should send to PLS when published. In addition, all travel grant recipients must submit to PLS a brief report on the scholarly results of the travel within two months after the student has returned.


Islamic Law: Human Rights Advocacy in the Muslim World
Salma Waheedi
Spring 2020 (tent.)

This course will focus on human rights advocacy in the Muslim world. After providing an introduction to Islamic law, the course will address difficult questions at the intersection of human rights law and some interpretations of Islamic law. Topics to be examined include religious freedom, sexual relations and sexuality, domestic relations, the rights of children, and public dress and behavior. The course will focus on how human rights organizations — international, regional, and local — have worked on cases in these areas of concern, and will consider how such organizations can most effectively address issues that involve religious belief and practice.

Animal Law
Professor Kristen Stilt
Spring 2020 (tent.)

This course will introduce students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals (“animals”), including companion animals, farm animals (with a particular focus on factory farms), animals used in the context of entertainment (such as zoos and aquaria), animals used in scientific experimentation, and wild animals. The course will focus mainly on the U.S. but will also include significant attention to the laws of other countries and to international law.

The course will also engage with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law—why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of “animal rights” and “animal welfare”?