Muslim Women's Quest for Justice: Gender Law and Activism in India

Project Details


An urban ethnographic study of several Muslim women’s organizations in northern India. Based on 9 months of multi-sited empirical research amongst the religious clergy, informal and formal courts concerned with matters of Muslim family law, and Muslim women’s rights organizations in the city of Lucknow, this book charts the strivings and creative struggles of three ideologically different Muslim women’s organizations for gender justice. It shows the discursive and political strategies through which the at times competing women’s organizations navigate a contested and complicated public sphere, as they seek to curate a gender emancipatory understanding of Islam. I argue that these very contestations over the meaning of the family, gender relations, and religious membership evince the fluidity and the porosity of the categories of Islam and women’s rights on the ground. I, therefore, dispute the widely– accepted idea that patriarchal notions of the family and gender are rooted in a fixed, and hence unchangeable religious ideology. This project was funded by a three-year research grant from University of Zurich and a one-year grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. I have presented the findings of this research at various international conferences and published a monograph with Cambridge University Press as well as articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (2015) or the Journal of Law and Social Research (2012).
Effective start/end date1/09/0831/08/17


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