Rami Koujah

Graduate Prize Fellow
110 Jones Hall

Rami Koujah is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies specializing in the study of Islamic law and legal theory. His dissertation is on the intellectual history of legal personhood in Islamic jurisprudence — who (or what) counts as a person in the eyes of the law — and its entanglement with philosophical, political, and theological issues. As a fundamental category of law, analyzing the legal construction(s) of personhood interrogates basic assumptions about what the law is, who it is for, and how it reflects metaphysical realities and social imaginaries. Further, Rami's dissertation considers whether, and the extent to which, a person is considered different from a human being, and how this distinction structures legal, social, and political norms. Given that personhood remains a hotly contested designation, both explicitly and implicitly — explicitly through debates on the personhood of animals, the environment, and artificial intelligence, and implicitly through rights and recognition afforded to the politically dispossessed — Islamic legal discourses can help us reimagine alternative ways of thinking about our and others' humanity and place in the world. Rami received a B.A. and M.A. from UCLA, M.St. from Oxford University, and J.D. from Stanford Law School.