Current topics in law and society studies.
Gender and Law in Muslim Majority Societies: This is an advanced graduate seminar examining the social realities of gender and law in Muslim-majority states. The readings examine post-colonial state building as a process that contributes to contemporary articulations of Islam and gender roles in the region, and to building a coherent past, often in dialogue with the colonial project of modernity. Among the questions we are interested in are: What are some of the different ways post-colonial states in Muslim majority societies have taken shape? How are gender and law implicated in these processes? While we are interested in understanding the complexities of gender and law in Muslim-majority societies, in this seminar, we are also questioning how such knowledge is produced.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this course seeks to challenge positivist assumptions about categories such as gender, law, and family, while also taking a critical and reflective view of how scholars write, research, and approach these subjects as research topics in Muslim-majority societies.
One of the primary aims of this course is to explore how the theories presented by scholars, which are either drawn from or inspired by Western philosophers, illuminate (or not) the realities on-the-ground. Are these theories appropriate frameworks for making sense of the lives and experiences of women and men in Muslim-majority societies? Do such theories conceal more than they reveal? Do they offer new ways of exploring and understanding, while also requiring us to question our own methods, explanations, and understandings of the social realities we see? What new ways of knowing do some of these readings offer?
This course builds on the existing literature and feminist and post-structural theories of gender in Muslim-majority societies. We will not re-visit the introductory material, and familiarity with it is expected. Thus, there is pre-requisite for this course. Students should have taken LSJ 421/ANTH 498 or have equivalent preparation.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Seminar: student-led discussion with instructor offering background and synthesis.
Pre-requisite: LSJ 421/ANTH 498 previous knowledge, experience or courses in women's studies, gender in Islam or Muslim societies, and Islamic law and/or socio-legal studies
Class assignments and grading
written papers, oral presentations, and class participation