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Haider Ala Hamoudi

Haider Ala Hamoudi

Vice Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Professor of Law
(412) 624-1055

High-Resolution Photo

Professor Haider Ala Hamoudi was promoted to Vice Dean on July 1, 2018. From 2013 to 2017, he served as Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development. This past academic year, he was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. As Vice Dean, Hamoudi is a critical member of the leadership team. He serves as the principal advisor to the Dean as well as designee of the Dean in circumstances determined by the Dean. In addition to retaining the responsibilities of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Hamoudi’s additional responsibilities include participation in the decision making process for major financial decisions as they arise, oversight of the budget planning process, being part of the leadership team to craft a new five year strategic plan pertaining to alumni relations and advancement, and participation in all key decision making regarding setting advancement goals, priorities, and initiatives for the Law School. 

As professor, Hamoudi teaches contracts, commercial law and Islamic law. In 2014, he was awarded the Robert T. Harper Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Professor Hamoudi’s scholarship focuses on Middle Eastern and Islamic Law. As concerns Islamic law, and specifically Islamic finance, where he has done much of his writing, his approach has been to focus on the manner in which modern legal actors, with their own preexisting political, social, economic and ideological dispositions, interpret and apply Islamic law as part of the positive law of contemporary states. In addition to his numerous articles and book chapters in a wide variety of law school journals, university presses and other scholarly venues, as a result of which he has become internationally recognized as a leading scholar in the field, he is currently under contract with Aspen Publishers to coauthor a casebook on Islamic Law entitled Islamic Law in Modern Courts, and with West Publishing to author a nutshell on Islamic Law, again focusing on Islamic Law as it is relevant in modern legal systems. Professor Hamoudi is also the author of a blog on Islamic Law entitled Islamic Law in Our Times.

As with his Islamic Law work generally, Professor Hamoudi’s scholarship in the law of the Middle East focusses on the law as it operates in the field rather than as it exists in texts and commentaries. Professor Hamoudi spent most of 2009 in Baghdad advising the Constitutional Review Committee of the Iraqi legislature, responsible for developing critical amendments to the Iraq Constitution deemed necessary for Iraqi national reconciliation, on behalf of the United States Embassy in Baghdad. He also advised on other key pieces of legislation, including a hydrocarbons law, a revenue management law, and an antitrust law. From this work, and from extensive contemporaneous research into the records and legislative history of the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution in 2005, Professor Hamoudi published a book with the University of Chicago Press in 2013 entitled Negotiating in Civil Conflict: Imperfect Bargaining and Constitutional Construction in Iraq.

Professor Hamoudi’s most recent work looks at the three primary forms of legal order in the Iraqi nation-state—tribal law, Islamic law and state law—and attempts to explain how they interact with one another to organize commercial and other private law activity throughout the state. As with his earlier work, Professor Hamoudi seeks to demonstrate that the actual operation of law, including Islamic law, is far more complex and interesting than any examination of authoritative legal texts would lead one to believe.

Professor Hamoudi received his B.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. He was both a member of the Physics Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma, and a Burchard Scholar for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 1996, Professor Hamoudi received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. After graduating, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Constance Baker Motley in the Southern District of New York and then worked as an Associate at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton until 2003. In 2003 and 2004, Professor Hamoudi served as a legal advisor to the Finance Committee of the Iraq Governing Council, as well as a Program Manager for a project managed by the International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University School of Law to improve legal education in Iraq. He joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Law as an Assistant Professor in 2007.

JSD, Columbia University
JD, Columbia University
BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Books, Dissertations:

  • Islamic Law in a Nutshell (West 2018 forthcoming).
  • Islamic Law In Modern Courts: Cases And Materials (Aspen 2018 forthcoming).
  • Negotiating in Civil Conflict: Constitutional Construction and Imperfect Bargaining in Iraq, (U. Chicago Press 2013). Introduction available on SSRN.
  • Toward a Legal Understanding of the Shari'a (Columbia University Dissertation, 2009).
  • Howling in Mesopotamia, (Beaufort Books, 2008).

Book Chapters and Articles:

  • Sex and the Shari’a: Defining Gender Norms and Sexual Deviancy in Shi’i Islam, 39 Fordham Int’l L. J. 25 (2015), available on SSRN.
  • ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorism and the Classical Jihad: On the Contingencies of Violent Islamic Extremism, 11 Florida Int’l U. L. Rev. 19 (2015), available on SSRN.
  • The Political Codification of Islamic Law: A Closer Look at the Draft Ja’fari Personal Status Code of Iraq, 32 AZ. J. Int. & Comp. L. __ (2016, forthcoming). Available on SSRN.
  • The Resolution of Disputes in State and Tribal Law in the South of Iraq: Toward a Cooperative Model of Pluralism, in Negotiating State and Non-State Law: Challenges of Global and Local Pluralism (Cambridge University Press 2015). Available on SSRN.
  • The Impossible, Highly Desired Islamic Bank, 5 William & Mary Bus. L. Rev. 105 (2014). Available on SSRN.
  • Decolonizing the Centralist Mind: Legal Pluralism and the Rule of Law, in The International Rule of Law Movement: A Crisis of Legitimacy and The Way Forward (Harvard University Press 2014). Available on SSRN
  • The Resolution of Disputes in State and Tribal Law in the South of Iraq: Toward a Cooperative Model of Pluralism, in Negotiating State and Non-State Law: Challenges of Global and Local Pluralism (Cambridge University Press 2014, forthcoming).
  • Religious Minorities and Shari’a in Iraqi Courts, 31 Boston U. Int. L.J. 387 (2013). Available on SSRN.
  • Repugnancy in the Arab World, 48 Willamette L. Rev. 427 (2012). Available on SSRN.
  • Arab Spring, Libyan Liberation and the Externally Imposed Democratic Revolution, 89 Den. U. L. Rev. 699 (2012). Available on SSRN.
  • The Surprising Irrelevance of Islamic Bankruptcy, 19 AM. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 505 (2011). Available on SSRN.
  • Notes in Defense of the Iraqi Constitution, 32 U. Pa. J. Int'l L. 1117 (2011). Available on SSRN.
  • Identitarian Violence and Identitarian Politics: Elections and Governance in Iraq, 51 Harvard Int. L. J. Online 82 (2010). Available online
  • Ornamental Repugnancy: Identitarian Islam and the Iraqi Constitution, 7 St. Thomas L. Rev. 3 (2010). Available on SSRN.
  • The Death of Islamic Law, 38 GA. J.  Int'l & Comp. L. 294 (2010). Available on SSRN.
  • Baghdad Booksellers, Basra Carpet Merchants, and the Law of God and Man: Legal Pluralism and the Contemporary Muslim Experience 1 Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law 1 (2008). Available on SSRN.
  • The Muezzin’s Call and the Dow Jones Bell: On the Necessity of Realism in the Study of Islamic Law, 56 Am. J. Comp. L. (2008). Available on SSRN.


Awards and Honors

  • Winner, Robert T. Harper Award Excellence in Teaching (May 2014).
  • Middle East Distinguished Scholar in Residence, College of William and Mary (March 2014).
  • Nonresident Senior Fellow, Boston University Institute for Iraq Studies (Sept. 2011 - present).

Selected Professional Activities

  • Religious Conversion and Iraqi Courts: Promises and Perils, Bayan Claremont Islamic University (April 23, 2016).
  • Iraqi Law and the Protection of Antiquities, Proceedings for the American Society of International Law (March 31, 2016).
  • Abrahamic Religions & The Middle East, Duquesne University (Symposium on Inter-Religious Dialogue) (March 9, 2016).
  • Islamic Law Pedagogy, University of California, Santa Barbara (February 20, 2016).
  • The Ironies of Shi’i Law, National University of Singapore (December 11, 2015).
  • Lone Wolf Terrorism and the Classical Jihad: On the Contingencies of Violent Islamic Extremism, Florida International University College of Law (October 22, 2015) (via videoconference).
  • Islamic Law in Modern Courts: Introduction to a Casebook, Center for International Legal Education Twentieth Anniversary Conference (September 11, 2015).
  • Mediating Modern Law and Medieval Fiqh: On the Strategic Juristic Omission of the Najaf Jurists, Center of Islam, Law and Modernity, Durham University (United Kingdom) (August 18, 2015).
  • Strategic Juristic Omission: On the Non-Muslim Bloodprice in Shi’i Islam, Global Islamic Criminal Law Conference (May 1, 2015).
  • The State of the Iraqi Judiciary, Rand Corporation (Arlington. VA) (April 2, 2015).
  • Iraq and Imperfect Constitution Making, Indiana University Maurer School of Law (February 26, 2015).
  • Islamic Legal Realism, Harvard Law School (June 2, 2014).
  • Conceptions of Maturity in Islamic and State Law, Al Mahdi Institute, Birmingham, United Kingdom (April 4, 2014).
  • Book Presentation on Negotiating in Civil Conflict, Allegheny Harvard, Yale, Princeton Club (March 27, 2014).
  • Understanding the Shi’a Sunni Split, Kraemer Distinguished Scholar Address, College of William and Mary (March 13, 2014).
  • Islam in the Iraq Constitution, William and Mary Law School (March 12, 2014).
  • Commentary on The Struggle for Iraq’s Future, New York University School of Law (March 5, 2014).