In the last two decades of the twentieth century, a growing confrontation between political Islam and feminism made links between theology, law, and politics transparent. The Islamist agenda of policing women’s presence and gender relations in public space has led to the emergence of forms of activism that have challenged patriarchal interpretations of the Shari’a from within the Muslim tradition, a movement that has come to be known as “Islamic feminism.”
This lecture will explore the movement’s potential for changing the terms of debates over Islam and gender, arguing that the real battle is between patriarchy and despotism on the one hand, and gender equality and democracy on the other.
Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a legal anthropologist specializing in Islamic law, gender, and development. She is currently Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, University of London.