Landry is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral research inquires into the life of shia sharia law in contemporary Lebanon. He is currently an associated scholar (doctorant associé) at Beirut’s Institut Français du Proche-Orient as well as a research fellow at the Orient Institute—Beirut. Prior to study Islamic Law in Lebanon, he conducted research in Michel Foucault’s archives in Caen (France) as well as in the Russian State Archives in Moscow. These archival inquiries resulted in a series of articles on post-structuralist theory and literary practices in Russia, published in academic journals both in French and in English. Jean-Michel holds a B.A and a M.A. in Anthropology from Université Laval (Québec City, Canada). He intervenes regularly in Canadian newspapers (La Presse, Le Devoir) as well as on Première Chaîne, the radio network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Landry’s research project is titled “Islamic legal Reasoning and the Adjudication of Family Law among the Shia of Lebanon.” During the period of his fellowship, he will inquire into the social life of shia sharia law in contemporary Lebanon. Focusing on hawza religious schools (where the sharia is taught) and jaafari family law courts (where matters of marriage and divorce are adjudicated), he will study the various processes through which independent legal reasoning (ijtihad) is taught, learned and exercised both inside and outside the Lebanese state-sponsored juridical apparatus.