This course will investigate gender identity and relationships between men and women in Islam theologically, historically, culturally, and in consideration of political, social, and economic developments. We will also look at some of the ways in which Muslim women have constructed, reassessed, and articulated Islam and their place within. A variety of source materials, including the foundational texts of Islam, historical, narrative and ethnographic accounts, film and other visual sources, and a range of women’s studies scholarship, will provide the framework for lectures. Lectures will investigate how constructions, articulations, and understandings of women in Islam emerge in different aspects of the social, political, and ritual lives of women and men in Muslim countries and communities around the world.
to appreciate the diversity of women’s voices in Islam and their experiences as Muslims in different parts of the world - individually, culturally, and according to their particular social location;
To begin to develop the self-awareness that will help you to understand how your own life experiences, biases, and pre-existing ideas about Islam may affect your reception, and understanding, of the material we read and the issues we discuss/debate;
to sharpen basic recall and critical thinking skills
at the end of this course, students will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of how women’s roles, place, rights, and obligations have been articulated in the Muslim world at various critical junctures in the history of Islam;
critically analyze the texts we read, with understanding of the author’s main argument(s) and perspectives;
compare and contrast the different views on women in Islam
articulate how economic, social, political, and religious changes affecting Muslims have shaped their understanding, and expression, of gender identity and relationships in Islam;
Required texts for purchase
Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (1992)
Additional Required Reading is located on Blackboard, in the folder marked "Files" (Bb: = reading located on Blackboard). (half of this reading will also be made available in a Course Reader)
**PLEASE NOTE ** – for those who want to purchase the Course Reader
There is an additional option for those who do not want to download and print all of the required reading from Blackboard. You may purchase a course reader through University Readers. They will mail you a course reader upon request. The price has varied in the past, but last year it was between $30 and $36 and included about half of the required reading in the class (this helps keep costs down).
Optional texts for purchase (assigned readings from these texts are in the course reader or on
Amina Wadud, Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam (2006)
…You are responsible for completing all assigned reading listed in the syllabus on or before the day it is listed. Assignments and grade percentages (see descriptions below):
Percentage of total grade
Online assessments (7 worth 10% each)
Power Point Presentation
POLICIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES
A. Academic Integrity
I personally support the GW Code of Academic Integrity. It states: “Academic dishonesty is defined as cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information.” For the remainder of the code, see: http://www.gwu.edu/~ntegrity/code.html
B. University Counseling Center (UCC) 202-994-5300
The University Counseling Center (UCC) offers 24/7 assistance and referral to address students' personal, social, career, and study skills problems. Services for students include:
crisis and emergency mental health consultations
confidential assessment, counseling services (individual and small group), and referrals
Bb: Brenner, “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and the Veil,” 673-97
Bb: Bahramitash, “Myths and Realities of the Impact of Political Islam on Women: Female Employment in Indonesia and Iran” pp. 508-520
Bb: Mernissi, "The Satellite, the Prince, and Scheherezade: the Rise of Women as Communicators in Digital Islam"
video clip (in learning module): the Red mosque and online discussion
Bb: Mahdavi, "'But What if Someone Sees Me?' Women, Risks, and the Aftershocks of Iran's Sexual Revolution" pp. 1-22
Osanloo, 42-58 "Whence the Law: The Politics of Women’s Rights, Regime Change, and the Vestiges of Reform in the Islamic Republic of Iran"
Bibliography for Blackboard and Course Reader Materials
Blackboard: Excerpts from the Qur’an: http://www.altafsir.com (Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation); Excerpts from the Sahih Bukhari: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/refer\ence/searchhadith.html (USC-MSA compendium of texts).
Hambly, Gavin R.G. “Becoming Visible,” in Women in the Medieval Islamic World: Power, Patronage, and Piety. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
Amin, Qasim. “The Emancipation of Women” and “The New Woman,” in Charles Kurzman, ed. Modernist Islam 1840-1940: a Sourcebook. London: OUP, 2002.
al-Badiyya, Bahithat. “A Lecture in the Club of the Umma Party,” in Charles Kurzman, ed. Modernist Islam 1840-1940: a Sourcebook. London: OUP, 2002.
Toprak, Metin, and Nasuh Uslu. "The Headscarf Controversy in Turkey" Journal of Economic and Social Research. Vol. 11, no. 1 (2009): 43-67.
Shahabuddin, Elora. "Contesting Development: Between Islamist and Secularist Perspectives" in Reshaping the Holy: Democracy, Development, and Muslim Women in Bangladesh. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
Rostami-Povey, Elaheh. "Gender, Agency and Identity, the Case of Afghan women in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran." Journal of Development Studies. Vol.43, iss.2 (2007): 294-311.
Brenner, Suzanne. “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and the Veil,” American Ethnologist.Vol. 23, no. 4 (Nov. 1996): 673-97.
Bahramitash, Roxana. “Myths and Realities of the Impact of Political Islam on Women: Female Employment in Indonesia and Iran,” Development in Practice. Vol. 14, No. 4 (June 2004): 508-520.
Course Reader: Ernst, Carl W. “What is Sufism?” in Carl W. Ernst, The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Boston: Shambhala Books,1997.
Sells, Michael. “Rabi’a” in Michael Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1996.
Clancy-Smith, Julia. “The House of Zainab: Female Authority and Saintly Succession in Colonial Algeria,” in Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender. New Haven, CT; Yale University Press, 1991.
Pemberton, Kelly. "Singing and Reciting" in Kelly Pemberton, Women Mystics and Sufi Shrines in India. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2010.
Wadud, Amina. “Rights and Roles of Woman: Some Controversies,” in Amina Wadud, Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective NY; Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.
Wadud, Amina. “Qur’an, Gender, and Interpretive Possibilities,” in Amina Wadud, Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam. Oxford: Oneworld Books, 2006.
Mernissi, Fatima. "The Satellite, the Prince, and Scheherezade: the Rise of Women as Communicators in Digital Islam." http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Spring04/mernissi.htm (last accessed January 16, 2012).
Mahdavi, Pardis. "'But What if Someone Sees Me?' Women, Risks, and the Aftershocks of Iran's Sexual Revolution.." Journal of Middle East Women's Studies vol. 5, no. 2 (spring 2009): 1-22.
Osanloo, Arzoo. "Whence the Law: The Politics of Women’s Rights, Regime Change, and the Vestiges of Reform in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Radical History Review. Issue 101 (Spring 2008): 42-58.