Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Media Information
Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts

Dr. Dörthe Engelcke

Senior Research Fellow, Research Group: Changes in God’s Law – An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws

Phone: +49 40 419 00 - 348

Facsimile: +49 40 419 00 - 288


Main Fields of Research:

Islamic Law, Muslim Family Law, Legal Pluralism, Christian Family Law in the Middle East, Socio-Legal Studies, legal politics

Academic Career:

2003-2007 Islamic Studies at the University of Hamburg and the Institut National des Langues et des Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) Paris (Erasmus Scholarship), Zwischenprüfung+2. 2007-2008 M.A. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. 2009-2015 DPhil (Ph.D.) in Oriental Studies at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. 2012 visiting scholar at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg. 2014-2015 stipendiary visiting fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. 2016 co-winner of the 2016 BRISMES Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for the best Ph.D. dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic in the Social Sciences or Humanities awarded by a British University. 2015-2017 Early Career Fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Göttingen.

Memberships: Middle East Studies Association (MESA), German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO), Gesellschaft für Arabisches und Islamisches Recht (GAIR)

Recent Lectures:


Adjudicating Christian Family Law in Jordan: Legal Borrowing Across Religious Lines?

Conference: Law, Islam and Anthropology, joint conference of the GAIR and RIMO

  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle


The Exemption of Christian Family Law in Jordan from the CEDAW debate: Diffusion of International Norms Through Legal Borrowing?

Conference: The Family, Human Rights and Internationalism: Global Historical-Sociological Perspectives

  • Location: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen


Christian and Islamic Family Law in Jordan: Challenge to Reform

60th Anniversary of the Middle East Centre

  • Location: University of Oxford, St Antony’s College

Recent Publications

I. Shorter Works in Collections, Commentaries, Handbooks and Encyclopaedia

Family Law Reform in Algeria, in: Doris H. Gray, Nadia Sonneveld (eds.), Women and Social Change in North Africa: What Counts as Revolutionary?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2018, 308 - 330.

Jordan, in: Nadjma Yassari, Lena-Maria Möller, Imen Gallala-Arndt (eds.), Parental Care and the Best Interests of the Child in Muslim Countries, Asser Press, Den Haag 2017, 121 - 143.

Jordan, in: Gerhard Robbers, W. Cole Durham (eds.), Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, vol. 3: Asia, Brill Nijhoff, Leiden 2016, 180 - 186.

II. Journal Articles

Law-making in Jordan: Family Law Reform and the Supreme Justice Department, Islamic Law and Society 25 (2018), 274 - 309.

Interpreting the 2004 Moroccan Family Law: Street-Level Bureaucrats, Women’s Groups, and the Preservation of Multiple Normativities, Law & Social Inquiry 2017, DOI: 10.1111/lsi.12315, 18.08.2017.

III. Miscellaneous

Reasserting State Control Over Official Islam in Morocco, in: Official Islam in the Arab World: The Contest for Religious Authority. Ed. Nathan J. Brown, 13-15. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017,, 11.05.2017.

Morocco's Changing Civil Society, Sada, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2016,, 07.01.2016.

The Ongoing, Steady Gains of Morocco's Islamist Party, Jadaliyya 2015,, 29.09.2015.