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Cyra Akila Choudhury

Visiting Professor

213 Mandrell Hall

(859) 257-1729


Professor Cyra Akila Choudhury graduated with a J.D. (cum laude) and LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center. She received an MA in Comparative Politics from Columbia University focusing on women, religion and South Asia. She earned her Bachelors in Political Science from The College of Wooster where she won the Frank Miller Prize in Comparative Politics, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated second in her class. Prior to joining the FIU faculty, Professor Choudhury worked for The National Academies advising the federal government on international labor standards and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, one of the largest international law firms in the world, in their corporate finance practice. She returned to Georgetown Law Center in 2005 as the Future Law Professor Fellow for the 2005-2007 term focusing her research on comparative family law and critical legal theory.

Professor Choudhury’s expertise is in international and comparative family law; gender and postcolonial theory; subjectivity and legal theory; and international labor law and labor migration. In addition, she has written and lectured on Islamic law and Muslims as minorities and national security law. In 2012, Professor Choudhury was awarded a grant from the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School to study domestic migrant workers from South Asia to the Gulf. She has served as a docent for the IGLP workshops for the past three years. She is part of a number of research groups including the Ottoman Legacies in Post-conflict societies, an initiative started at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK; a network of TWAIL scholars whose reach is global; and a critical human rights study group funded by IGLP at Harvard Law School. Professor Choudhury’s work has appeared in the Michigan Journal of International Law, Akron Law Review, and the University of Colorado Law Review. She has appeared as an expert witness in a number of transnational family law cases and has been interviewed by national media outlets on both the Middle East and Islamic law as well as on family law matters. She is a member of the Middle East Studies faculty at FIU.


Georgetown University Law Center, LLM, 2007
          Future Law Professor Fellow
Georgetown University Law Center J.D. cum laude, 2004
Columbia University M.A. in Political Science, 1996
The College of Wooster, B.A. in Political Science, 1994
          Senior Thesis awarded honors
          Ranked 2 in class/Phi Beta Kappa/Departmental Honors/Frank Miller Prize in Comparative





  • International and comparative gender law and religion
  • Family law and contracts; gender and security

Books & Book Chapters

Islamophobia and the Law (with Khaled Beydoun, accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press) (forthcoming).

Changing Subjects: International Law and the Family (accepted for publication New York University Press) (forthcoming).

Book Chapters

Islamophobia and Property Lawfare in Islamophobia and the Law (Cyra A. Choudhury & Khaled Beydoun, eds., forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)

From Bandung 1955 to Bangladesh 1971: Self-Determination and Third World Failures in South Asia in Bandung and the Global South: 60 Years of Transformative International Law (Eslava, Fakhri, and Nesiah, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017) (invited).

Governance Feminism’s Imperial Misadventure: Progress, International Law, and the Security of Afghan Women in Contestatory Feminisms, Contestory Spaces (Huma A. Ghosh, ed., SUNY Press, 2015) (invited).

Collateral Damage:  The Ghettoization of Muslims in the Race for the White House in Race 2008:  Critical Reflections on an Historical campaign 61-76 (2010).


Scholarly Articles

Exporting Subjects: Globalizing Family Law Progress Through International Human Rights, 32 Mich. Int’l L. J. 259 (2011).

Globalizing the Margins: Legal Exiles in the War on Terror and Liberal Feminism’s War for Muslim Women 9.2 Int’l Rev. of Constitutionalism, 241-261 (2010) (peer edited, invited).

Empowerment or Estrangement:  Liberal Feminism’s Visions of the “Progress” of Muslim Women 39.2 U. Baltimore L. Forum 153-172 (2009).

 (Mis)Appropriated  Justice:  Muslim Personal Law Reform, the Uniform Civil Code and the Rights of Muslim Women in India 17 Columbia J. of Gender and L. 45-110 (2008).

Terrorists & Muslims:  The Construction, Performance, and Regulation of Muslim Identities in the Post-9/11 United States 7 Rutgers  J. of L. & Relig. 8 (2006).

Comprehending “Our” Violence: Reflections on the Liberal Universalist Tradition, National Identity and the War on Iraq 3 Muslim World J. of Hum. Rights 1 (2006) (peer reviewed, invited).

Muslim Women in National and Transnational Security Regimes, Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures (2017) (invited, peer reviewed).

In the Shadow of Gaslight:Reflections on Identity, Diversity, and Distribution of Power in the Academy 20 CUNY L. Rev. 467 (2017) (invited).

Introduction: New Approaches and Challenges to Reproductive Justice 12 FIU L. Rev. 1 (2017).

Transnational Commercial Surrogacy: Contracts, Conflicts, and the Prospects of International Legal Regulation, Oxford Handbook in Law Online (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) (invited, peer reviewed).

Beyond Culture: Human Rights Universalisms versus Cultural and Religious Relativism in the Activism for Gender Justice 30 Berkeley J. of Gender and L. 266 (2015) (lead article).

Ideology, Identity and Law in the Production of Islamophobia, 39 Dialectical Anthropology 47 (2015) (peer refereed).

The Political Economy and Legal Regulation of Transnational Surrogacy 48 Vanderbilt J. of Transnational L. 1 (2015) (lead article).

Law, Gender, and the Burdens of Culture, Proceedings of the Human Rights, Gender and the Law Kate Stoneman Conference, Albany Law School, available at 3-17 (2014) (invited).

Shari’ah Law as National Security Threat 46 Akron L. Rev. 49 (2013).

Between Tradition and Progress: A Comparative Perspective on Polygamy in the United States and India 83 U. Colorado L. Rev. 963 (2012) (63 pages) (lead article).


Selected Presentations

Structures of Resistance/Control and "Declassifying" the War on Terror, ClassCrits X, New Orleans, 2017.

Deconstructing the International Public/Private Divide: Reproductive Rights and International Law, International Law Weekend, New York, 2017.

Islamophobia and Property Lawfare, Invited Lecture, University of Windsor, Ontario, 2017.

Islamophobia and Property Lawfare, LatCrit X, Orlando, 2017.

International Law and the Struggle to Become Experts: Other Terrains and Other Expertise in David Kennedy’s “A World of Struggle” International Studies Association, Baltimore, Maryland, 2017.

New Approaches & Challenges to Reproductive Justice, FIU Law Review Symposium, Miami, 2016.

Development, Families and Gender: From Colonial Legal Construction to Modern Economic Restructuring, Law and Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2016.

Development, Families and Gender: From Colonial Legal Construction to Modern Economic Restructuring, Family Law Scholars and Teachers, New Orleans 2016.

Asian-Americans in the Law: Achieving Visibility as Well as Success, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, Diversity Conference, Chicago, 2016.

International Labor and the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad School of Law, 2015.

Rethinking Postcolonial and Islamic Scholarship: ISIS and Islamist Violence as Competing Imperialism, Institute for Global Law and Policy Conference, Harvard University, 2015.

ISIS, Islamic Law and Third World Approaches to International Law: A Failure of Analysis, Third World Approaches to International Law Conference, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, February 2015.

The Political Economy of Transnational Reproductive Labor and Its Legal Regulation, Plenary Panel of Experts on International Family Law, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Doha, Qatar, January, 2014.

The Political Economy of Transnational Reproductive Labor and Its Legal Regulation, Beyond Roe Conference, Rutgers University Law School-Camden, October 2013.

Hard Labor: The Legal Regulation of Migrant Domestic Workers from South Asia to the Gulf, LatCritXVI, Chicago, IL, October 2013.

Economies of Desire Proseminar, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard University, 2013.

Transnational Surrogacy and Its Legal Regulation, IGLP at 5 Conference, Harvard University, 2013.

Domestic Violence in Comparison: A Response to Leigh Goodmark’s “Troubled Marriages”, Feminist Legal Theory-Collaborative Research Network, Law and Society, May 2013 (invited).

Transnational Surrogacy and Its Legal Regulation, Feminist Legal Theory-Collaborative Research Network, Law and Society, May 2013.

Contesting the Oppositional Religious Stance Against LGBTiQ Recognition in India, The Association of American Law Schools Conference Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2013 (invited).

Outsourcing Wombs, ClassCrits Conference, University of Wisconsin Law School, (panel convener and moderator) October 2012.

Outsourcing Wombs, Social Justice Feminism Conference, University of Cincinnati Law School (presenter, panel convener and moderator), October 2012.

Teaching TWAIL in a Time of Terror, SALT Conference, University of Baltimore School of Law, October 2012.

The Gendered Effects of Development Displacement, Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, Harvard University Law School, June 2012.

Exporting Subjects, selected as one of 4 panelists for “New Voices in Human Rights,” The Association of American Law Schools, Washington, DC January 6, 2012.

Gendered Effects/Distributing Progress, Third World Approaches to International Law Conference, University of Oregon School of Law, 2011.

Between Tradition and Progress:  A Comparative Perspective on U.S. and Indian Family Law, invited presenter at the Symposium on Indian and U.S. Family Law, University of Colorado Law School, 2011 (invited).

Exporting Subjects, at Workshop on Reproduction and Sex in Contemporary Governmentalities:  Governance Feminism and its Others, Harvard Law School, September 16, 2011 (invited).

Gendered Effects/Distributing Progress through Indian Public Interest Litigation:  lessons from the last thirty years, SEALS, Hilton Head, S.C., 2011 (invited).

Shari’ah as National Security Threat(?), presenter, Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, Harvard University Law School, 2011.

Shari’ah as National Security Threat(?), presenter, Faculty Workshop, Florida International University College of Law, 2011.

FIU Symposium, The U.S. Immigration Crises, Panel II, Panel Commentator, Florida International University, 2011.

Who’s Afraid of Islamic Law? Panelist, University of Miami School of Law, 2011 (invited).

Islamic Secularism:  A Contradiction in Terms? Public Lecture, Middle East Society, Florida International University, 2011 (invited).

NeoFeminism: Exploring New Feminist Analyses and Methodologies panel presenter, LatCrit XV, Denver, Colorado, 2010.

Globalizing the Margins, Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, 2010.

Neofeminism Workshop Co-organizer and presenter, Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference, University of Baltimore, 2010.

Obama’s Public Religion, Moderator of panel, LatCrit XIV American University, Washington, D.C., 2009.

The Regulation of Latino Migrant “Economic Terrorists” in the New Jim Crow? LatCrit XIV American University, Washington, D.C., 2009.

A bit on the side?  Moderator of panel at Law and Society, Denver, Colorado, 2009.

Liberal Feminism’s International Embrace, Law and Society, Denver, Colorado, 2009.

Islamic Law and New Approaches to Comparative Law, Law and Society, 2009 (invited panelist).

Comparative Islamic Family Law:  Divorce and Maintenance Emerging Family Law Scholars, Cardozo Law School, New York, 2009.

International Human Rights:  Celebrating the 60th Anniversary University of Maryland School of Law, invited commentor on law and the claims of culture and religion, 2008.

Freedom House Roundtable on Saudi Legal Reform, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., 2008.

•Empowerment and Estrangement:  Liberal (Feminist) Theory’s Alliance with International Human Rights and Muslim Women’s Progress into the Third Wave paper presented at University of Baltimore School of Law, Feminist Legal Theory and Feminisms Conference, 2008.

Critical Legal Theory Seminar, Guest Lecturer, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., Fall 2006.