Islamic Feminism

January 20, 2012

The rise of female leaders in the Islamist movement strikes many westerners as oxymoronic.  In a new paper published in Politics and Religion, Arizona State University professors Jeffry Halverson and Amy Way analyze the contradictions between feminism on the one hand and Islamism on the other.  They then use a case study method focusing on two female leaders from the Islamist movement.    The study “reveals the existence of ‘Islamist feminism,’ distinguished from broader secular-oriented Islamic feminism, as a logical, albeit unique, extension, and expression of Muslim anti-colonial discourse rooted in the intellectual currents of twentieth century independence movements that still resonate today.”

This fascinating paper raises many questions.  Perhaps feminism was never really a Western discourse to begin with – at its core, feminism is thoroughly rooted in anti-colonialism, and the Western brand is a deformed and maladjusted version of true feminism (as one of the case study subjects argues).

Read the whole thing.


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