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Dr. Morgan Clarke

Morgan Clarke is an anthropologist of the Arabic-speaking Middle East with a particular interest in contemporary Islam, especially Islamic law and its relationship to positive law, secular ethics and the civil state. His fieldwork to date has been in Lebanon (2003-4, 2007-8), although he has developing interests in the Arab Gulf States. His doctoral work (Oxford, 2006) focused on Islamic bioethics, concerning assisted reproduction in particular, and was published as Islam and new kinship: reproductive technology and the shariah in Lebanon (Berghahn, 2009). He continues to be interested in global medical, ethical and legal assemblages, and contributes to teaching in medical anthropology within the department.

Morgan Clarke was recently awarded an Oxford-Princeton Collaborative Grant to work with Professor Mirjam Künkler of Princeton (Near Eastern Studies) on a project entitled “Traditional authority and transnational religious networks in contemporary Shi‘i Islam: Results from recent empirical research”. The project lasted two years (2012-2014) and was funded by the John Fell OUP Research Fund at Oxford and the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton.

Contact Information:


Tel: +44 1865 612364



Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford

51 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE. UK


Research Interests

Morgan's current book project, developed through postdoctoral work at Cambridge (British Academy PDF, 2006-9) and Manchester (Simon Research Fellowship, 2009-11), is an ethnography of sharia discourse in Lebanon, focusing on the sharia (family law) courts and their relationship to non-state Islamic institutions. That involved fieldwork in both Sunni and Shi‘i contexts, including mosques, Sufi circles and the offices of major religious authorities, most notably Lebanon’s late Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah. With regard to the latter, Clarke has an enduring interest in Shi‘i Islam, with recent and forthcoming publications on the impact of the Internet and other new media on the social construction of religious authority within the tradition.


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