Women in Islamic Societies
Moderated by University of Notre Dame OCW
This course serves as a broad survey of women's and gender issues within the contexts of multiple societies in the Islamic world. The first half of the semester will concentrate on the historical position of women in Islamic societies, defined by the normative values of Islam and by cultural traditions and norms that were sometimes at odds with religious prescriptions. We will discuss how the interpretations of these values in diverse circumstances and who gets to do the interpreting have had important repercussions for women's societal roles. The second half of the course will privilege women's voices in articulating their gendered identities and roles in a number of pre-modern and modern Islamic societies in different historical circumstances as expressed in memoirs, fiction, magazine articles, and public speeches. As part of the historical contextualization of such works, we will focus on how modern phenomena like Western colonialism, nationalist liberation movements, civil and other forms of war have fostered women's organized movements, and their socio-political empowerment in some cases and marginalization in others, with lasting implications for these developing societies.
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