Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

mr. dr. M. (Maaike) Voorhoeve

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Semitische talen en culturen
  • Visiting address
    P.C. Hoofthuis
    Spuistraat 134  
  • Postal address:
    Spuistraat  134
    1012 VB  Amsterdam

Affiliated researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Guest Researcher at the Deoartment of Private law of the Law Faculty, and teacher at the department of Arabic language and culture of the Faculty of the Humanities

I'm currently examining the political transition in 'post-revolutionary' Tunisia, studying legal aspects of the transition from a legal-anthropological perspective. I focus on issues such as dealing with the crimes committed by the previous regime, the vetting of the judiciary and judicial independence, the making of a new constitution, the role of religion in legislation, religious/political adjudication and women's rights after the revolution.

From 1 September 2014 till 31 August 2015, I also have a post-doctoral position at the Institut d'Études de l'Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Curriculum Vitae

Education (selection)

  • PhD in Legal Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, 20 December 2011. Dissertation: Judges in a Web of Normative Orders. Judicial practices in the field of divorce at the Court of First Instance Tunis, 2008-2009. Directors: prof. Dorien Pessers and prof. Ruud Peters. Committee: prof. Kmar Bendana, prof. Léon Buskens, and prof. Jean-Philippe Bras.    
  • Master 'Islam in the Modern World' (University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University, 2005-2007, cum laude)
  • Master and BA in Law (University of Amsterdam, Università di Siena, Italy, 1998-2005)
  • Teaching certificate, Centrum voor Nascholing, University of Amsterdam (2010)

Research interests
Legal anthropology of Tunisia, including women's rights, constitutional law, transitional justice, and political justice. In the spring of 2011, I designed a research project with the tentative title A legal-anthropological study of the Tunisian revolution: transitional justice, the constitution, women's rights, and political justice.

Positions (selection)

  • (2007-2011) PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam, Law faculty, Department of General Jurisprudence
  • (2008-present) Teacher at the University of Amsterdam, Law faculty and Faculty of the Humanities, courses: 'Family Law in the Muslim World' (MA) and 'Introduction to Islamic Law' (BA), and supervisor of a number of theses (BA and MA) on law in the Muslim World.
  • (2012-2013) Research fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, Harvard University
  • (2013-2014) Post-doctoral research fellow at the Rechtskulturen Programme of the Forum Transregionale Studien of the Wissentschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Other professional memberships and roles

  • (2010-2011) Member of the Algeria-faction of the research group Prometée on the anthropological study of property law in Muslim-majority countries (ANR, Centre Jacques Berque)
  • (2010-present) Member of the board of the Dutch Association for the Study of Islamic Law (RIMO)
  • (2013-present) Member of the Advisory Committee of Iran Academia

Dutch (mother tongue)
English (fluent)
French (fluent)
Tunisian Arabic (good speaking and understanding)

Moroccan and Egyptian Arabic (average speaking and understanding)
Modern Standard Arabic (good reading)
Italian (good)
German (good)
Spanish (beginner)

Publications (selection)


  • Gender and Divorce in North Africa: Sharia, Custom and Personal Status Law in Tunisia, London: IB Tauris, 2014
  • Family Law in Islam: Divorce, Marriage and Women in the Muslim World, London: IB Tauris, 2012

Special issues

  • ‘Law and Corruption’, special issue for Middle East Law and Governance 6/2 (2014) (co-editor with Jessica Carlisle)

Articles and book chapters (peer-reviewed)

  • ‘“Women’s rights” in Tunisia and the democratic renegotiation of an authoritarian legacy’, Journal for New Middle East Studies, 5, 2015
  • ‘Informal transactions with the police: the case of Tunisian “sex crimes”’ Middle East Law and Governance, 6/2 (2014), pp. 70-92
  • (with Jessica Carlisle) ‘Introduction’, Middle East Law and Governance, 6/2 (2014), pp. 63-69
  • ‘Divorce for harm on the grounds of domestic violence’, Hawwa. Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, 11/3, 2012, pp. 151-178
  • ‘Le chaînon manquant. L’argumentation judiciaire dans le droit de la famille tunisien: analyse à partir des jugements contemporains tunisiens’, Maghreb et sciences sociales, 2012, pp. 243-251
  • ‘The interaction between codified law and divine law: the case of divorce for disobedience in Tunisia’, Revue de l’Institut de Belles Lettres Arabes, 204, 2009, pp. 267-286 

Articles and book chapters (currently under review)

  • ‘Female judges in Tunisia’, Nadia Sonneveld and Monika Lindbekk (eds) Female judges in the Muslim World (Brill, expected end of 2015)
  • ‘”Islam is Tunisia’s religion”’, Journal for Politics and Religion (preparation for second round)
  • ‘Transitional justice in post-revolutionary Tunisia: the case of the “victims of the revolution”’, Journal of North African Studies (preparation for second round)

Book chapters and encyclopeadia entries (not peer-reviewed)

  • ‘Divorce: historical practice’, ‘Divorce: modern practice’ and ‘ Iddah’, Natana J. DeLong-Bas (ed) The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Islam and Women (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • (with B. Dupret) ‘Introduction’, M. Voorhoeve (ed), Family Law in Islam: Divorce, Marriage and Women in the Muslim World, I.B. Tauris, 2012, pp. 1-10
  • ‘Open norms and judicial discretion: the case of Tunisian family law’, M. Voorhoeve (ed), Family Law in Islam: Divorce, Marriage and Women in the Muslim World, I.B. Tauris, 2012, pp. 199-226
  • ‘Question de droit et fantasme populiste: la charia aux Pays-Bas’, B. Dupret (ed) La charia aujourd'hui. Usages et pratiques de la référence au droit islamique, Paris: La Découverte (collection recherches), 2012, pp. 243-254

Online publications

  • ‘Women’s rights in the new Tunisian constitution’, Open Democracy, 11 March 2014.
  • ‘Cops are dogs: prosecuting Tunisia’s rap stars’,, 4 December 2013.
  • ‘Transitional justice in Tunisia’, Middle East Institute, 27 February 2014.
  • ‘Tunisian men, Western women in the film Die Welt’,, 6 September 2013.
  • ‘Islam in Tunisia’s new constitution: Between authoritarianism and political ouverture’, Consultancy Africa Intelligence, 2 July 2013 .
  • ‘Tunisia: Protecting Ben Ali’s feminist legacy’, Consultancy Africa Intelligence. Republished by Think Africa Press, 31 January 2013.

Other (not peer-reviewed)

  • ‘Revolutie en desillusie in de Tunesische film Die Welt’ (Revolution and disillusion in the Tunisian film Die Welt), Internationale Spectator (Instituut Clingendael), 67/11, 2013, pp. 78-79.
  • Annotation of Harroudj vs. France, European Court of Human Rights, 43631/09, European Human Rights Cases, 14/1, 2013, pp. 88-97
  • ‘Compte rendu de la thèse intitulée Judges in a web of normative orders’, Revue IBLA, July 2012
  • (with N. Sonneveld) ‘Brengt de Arabische lente ook vrijheid en gelijkheid voor vrouwen?’ (Shall the Arab Spring bring freedom and equality to women too?), Zem Zem, 2, 2012, pp. 6-10

Invited book reviews

  • Steffen Erdle, Ben Ali's 'New Tunisia' (1987-2009). A Case Study of Authoritarian Modernization in the Arab World (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2010),  Bibliotheca Orientalis, 3-4, 2013, pp. 551-553
  • Guy Bechor, God in the Courtroom: The Transformation of Courtroom Oath and Perjury between Islamic and Franco-Egyptian Law (Leiden: Brill, 2012), Journal of the American Oriental Society, 134/4, 2014
  • Rubya Mehdi, Werner Menski and Jorgen Nielsen (eds) Interpreting divorce laws in Islam (Copenhagen: DJOF, 2012), Islamic Law and Society 22/1-2, 2015, pp. 153-156
  • Robbert Woltering, Occidentalisms (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), Bibliotheca Orientalis 5-6, 2014, pp. 868-870


  • (2008) Amsterdams Universiteits Fonds, € 500 for language course in Tunisia
  • (2008) Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, € 2.000 for fieldwork in Tunisia
  • (2012) Research in Paris, € 22.500 for post-doctoral research at the EHESS in Paris (I declined)
  • (2012) Katharina van Tussenbroekfonds, € 2.500 for research at the EHESS in Paris (I declined)
  • (2012) Harvard University, 31.500 for post-doctoral research at the Islamic Legal Studies Program of Harvard University


digital resources

Family Law in Islam:
Interview on Jadaliyya


  • Voorhoeve, M. (2012). Compte rendu de thèse. IBLA : Revue de l'Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes, 75(1 (209)), 164-168. [details] 
  • Voorhoeve, M. (2012). Judicial discretion in Tunisian personal status law. In M. Voorhoeve (Ed.), Family law in Islam: divorce, marriage and women in the Muslim world (pp. 199-230). (Library of Islamic law; No. 4). London/New York: I.B. Tauris. [details] 
  • Voorhoeve, M. (2012). Question de droit et fantasme populiste: la charia aux Pays-Bas. In B. Dupret (Ed.), La charia aujourd'hui: usages et pratiques de la référence au droit islamique (pp. 243-254). (Collection recherches). Paris: La Découverte. [details] 
  • Dupret, B., & Voorhoeve, M. (2012). Introduction. In M. Voorhoeve (Ed.), Family law in Islam: divorce, marriage and women in the Muslim world (pp. 1-10). (Library of Islamic law; No. 4). London/New York: I.B. Tauris. [details] 


  • Voorhoeve, M. (2010). De bescherming van het belang van het kind door Tunesische familierechters. Recht van de Islam, 24, 39-50. [details] 
  • Voorhoeve, M. (2010). Het Tunesische familierecht en het IVRK. In J. H. de Graaf, C. Mak, F. K. van Wijk, & L. A. Mulders (Eds.), Rechten van het kind en autonomie (pp. 45-62). Nijmegen: Ars Aequi Libri. [details] 



  • Voorhoeve, M. (2008). Waarheid bij de gerechtelijke vaststelling van het vaderschap van de verwekker. In J. H. Graaf, C. Mak, & F. K. van Wijk (Eds.), Rechten van het kind en ouderlijke verantwoordelijkheid (pp. 43-58). Nijmegen: Ars Aequi Libri. [details] 

Book editor

  • Voorhoeve, M. (2012). Family law in Islam: divorce, marriage and women in the Muslim world. (Library of Islamic law; No. 4). London/New York: I.B. Tauris. [details] 
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library  or the Pure staff  of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure  to edit your publications.
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