The Carnegie Corporation of New York announced today that UW School of Law Assistant Professor Clark Lombardi has been chosen as a 2006 Carnegie Scholar. Lombardi is one of twenty U.S. scholars who will receive a grant of up to $100,000 to pursue specific Islam-centered research over the next two years.
Lombardi's Carnegie research, "Muslim Judges as a New Voice in Islamic Discourse," will examine the ways in which contemporary judges in the Muslim world have interpreted Islamic law and will explore the way in which their interpretation of Islamic legal texts is informed by civil, common or legal reasoning.
"If we want to understand contemporary developments in the Muslim world, and think about Islam's relationship to other cultures, it is important to look beyond the narrow group of thinkers who the Western press usually cites as representative," said Lombardi. "Legal opinions are important public documents, and some judges have used them to articulate new, sometimes very liberal, ways of thinking about Islamic law. By studying the way judges write about Islamic law and shape public attitudes, I hope to add insight into the ongoing evolution of legal and political thought in the Muslim world. I also hope to clarify the way liberal constitutionalism is understood around the world. This will help us understand the ways in which the non-Muslim world will be able to productively engage with the Muslim world on an ongoing basis."
Lombardi joined the UW School of Law in 2004. He works in the areas of Islamic law, constitutional law, comparative constitutional law and development law. His current research interests include the constitutional treatment of religion in United States, and the constitutionalization of Islamic law in contemporary Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Professor Lombardi received his master’s degree in Religion from Columbia University. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1998, where he was a James Kent Scholar and editor in chief of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. From 1999-2000, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, who at the time was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 2001, he received a Ph.D. in Religion from Columbia University focusing on religious legal systems, specifically Islamic legal systems and the role of Shari`a in contemporary Muslim states.
Over the course of his scholarly and professional career, Professor Lombardi has worked and studied in numerous countries in the Muslim world, including Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has advised on legal reform and constitutional development in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Affiliated with School of Law's Asian Law Center, he is active in the Center's Afghan Legal Educator's Project, which is funded by a grant from U.S. Department of State and is working with Afghan partners to build capacity in legal education in Afghanistan.
UW Political Science Professor Ellis Goldberg was also chosen as a 2006
Carnegie Scholar. Goldberg's research project is titled, "Sovereignty,
Community and Citizenship in Contemporary Arab Political Thought."
The goal of the Carnegie Corporation's new emphasis on Islam research is to encourage the development and expansion of the study of Islam within the U.S. The 2006 class of Carnegie Scholars reflects a diversity of professional, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding."