Feminism and Islam

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research - Morningside Heights

Course Details
$315 3 seats left
Start Date:

Tue, Jun 15, 6:30pm - Jul 06, 9:30pm Eastern Time (4 sessions)

Morningside Heights, Manhattan
3009 Broadway
Btwn 116th & 120th Streets
New York, New York 10027
Purchase Options
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 12

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this spirituality class:

The historian Margot Badran once queried, “What’s in a name? What is Islamic feminism?” The anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod posed a different yet related question in her article, “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?”—impugning American imperialist savior narratives supporting military intervention in the Middle East in the name of rescuing Muslim women. These two questions—of feminist possibilities from within and the hazards of “salvation” from without—remain at the forefront of contemporary debates on women’s activism in the region, especially as it relates to women’s responses to patriarchy, religious ideology, and inequality in state laws and gender policy. Given this context, how should we think about the multifaceted relationship between feminism, women’s liberation, and Islam?

In this course, we will explore the intersection of feminism and Islam through a study of both their shared history and the discourses interlinking them in modern and contemporary contexts. 

We will ask: 

  • How should we think and speak about the gendered processes of empowerment and disempowerment for women within Muslim-majority settings? 
  • In what ways, and to what effect, have Muslim women drawn inspiration from their religion, seeking to form new interpretive communities and producing new analyses of canonical texts in Islam to promote gender equity and justice? 
  • What are the critical possibilities, but also limitations, of “Islamic feminism” as a category of religious engagement and political activism? 

We will take up these questions by drawing upon works, from Marnia Lazreg, Kecia Ali, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Lila Abu Lughod, Sadia Abbas, Nawal El Saadawi, Saba Mahmood, among others, that highlight empirical knowledge of particular cases and theoretical debates on gender and politics. 

Sessions will be devoted to questions surrounding feminism and equality, looking at women’s exegesis, women’s ritual practice, and female religious movements in the Middle East and North Africa region. Readings will include memoirs, editorials, ethnographies, religious texts, and political treatises, as well as historical scholarship from Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Turkey, and Morocco.

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

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Refund Policy

Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.


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Start Dates (1)
Start Date Time Teacher # Sessions Price
6:30pm - 9:30pm Eastern Time Soraya Batmanghelichi 4 $315
This course consists of multiple sessions, view schedule for sessions.
Tue, Jun 22 6:30pm - 9:30pm Eastern Time Soraya Batmanghelichi
Tue, Jun 29 6:30pm - 9:30pm Eastern Time Soraya Batmanghelichi
Tue, Jul 06 6:30pm - 9:30pm Eastern Time Soraya Batmanghelichi

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School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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