Matthew S. Erie is a sociocultural anthropologist and a lawyer. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. The period of writing this special issue was supported, in part, by the Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship. He obtained his PhD in anthropology from Cornell University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. His research examines law and society in China, including issues of religion, property, and urbanization. His forthcoming book, The Prophet and the Party: Shariʿa, Islam, and Autonomy in China, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. The Prophet and the Party is the first ethnographic study of Islamic law in China and one of the first English-language ethnographies of law in China. Based on nineteen months of fieldwork in northwest China, the book is a study of legal pluralism in an authoritarian state. The book argues that Chinese Muslim minorities’ practice of Islamic law, in accordance with doctrinal traditions, produces a notion of autonomy alternative to that of Western liberalism, the political reformations of the “Arab Spring,” or state-sponsored Chinese socialism. You can read more at his website: http://www.matthewserie.com.