Emily Jane O’Dell

Dr. Emily Jane O’Dell is an Associate Professor, St. Martin’s author, and an editor of SHARIAsource at Harvard Law School, after having spent over half a decade teaching in the Middle East at the American University of Beirut as the Whittlesey Chair of History and Archaeology and at Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman.  As a result, Emily has strong contacts with an impressive number of politicians, academics, Islamic scholars, Muslim leaders, NGOs, and government employees around the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.  She has advised U.S. Senators, been invited to speak at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and spoken at universities and think tanks around the world.  She has a nuanced understanding of the complex and shifting challenges which shape government and private organizations in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. Living in the Middle East for over half a decade, she had a front row seat to ongoing developments in the so-called “Arab Spring.” As an expert on religion and politics, she is a frequent guest speaker for study tours (in Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, Africa, and India) for institutions like Harvard University, Columbia University, and the Commonwealth Club of California.

Emily has taught Islam and Sufism at Columbia University and the American University of Beirut. She has been a Research Fellow in Islamic Law in the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School and an editor of SHARIASource at Harvard Law School.  While she was as a Research Fellow for the Islamopedia Initiative at Harvard University, she collected fatwas in a variety of languages from around the world related to politics, gender, terrorism, spiritual and doctrinal concerns, sectarian divisions, family relations, medical ethics, and economics.

For her work on Islam and politics, she has been an Edward A. Hewett Policy Fellow, a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, a Harvard Research Fellow, a Harvard Traveling Scholar, a Title VIII Research Fellow, an IREX Fellow, an American Center for Mongolian Studies Fellow, American Institute for Indonesian Studies, and a State Department Critical Language Fellow.

She is available to offer her extensive knowledge on the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to the media, private companies, government organizations, NGOs, and think tanks around the world on a variety of topics related to politics, religion, Islamic law, and gender.

Meeting with colleagues in Tehran (Photo: Emily O’Dell)