The migrant crisis, the war on terror, and the rise of Islamophobia in Western countries have once again brought the question of Muslim women at the forefront of public attention. Research has repeatedly challenged the caricatured and orientalist representations predominant in Western discourses (Abu-Lughod 2002; Mahmood 2005; Mahmood 2006; Abu-Lughod 2016). Geographers have specifically seized upon religion (e.g. Kong 2001; Hopkins 2009; Kong 2010; Tse 2013) to highlight how Muslim women shape new configurations of religion, politics and public life (e.g. Secor 2001a; Secor 2001b; Falah et al. 2005; Gökariksel et al. 2010; Ehrkamp 2012; Gökarıksel et al. 2012; Williams 2012; Williams 2014; Gökarıksel et al. 2015). Grounded in post-colonial theory, such research has contributed to challenge the epistemic violence (Spivak 1988) of Western discourses that construct Muslim women as devoid of agency to justify an on-going politics of exclusion. Despite the contributions of this cross-disciplinary literature, there is still scarce knowledge on how women’s everyday lives are affected by a contemporary geopolitical reshaping of religion, especially Islam (Abu-Lughod 2016) and how they react (Stewart 2007) through mundane practices to shape the extraordinary (Dwyer 2016).

This session draws attention to Muslim women’s everyday lives and mundane practices across place, space and scale in the context of the politicisation of Islam globally. We particularly seek interventions from a range of feminist and geographical perspectives that aim to challenge discourses and re-write women’s everyday lives. These approaches include, but are not restricted to:

  • Ordinary affects of Muslim women’s lives
  • Contestations of the body and agency using the new materialist paradigm
  • Female masculinities, young women and terrorism
  • Muslim women in formal politics
  • Role of Islam in women’s rights
  • Multi-scalar activism by Muslim women
  • Critical political economic approaches (Materialist /Marxist perspective)
  • Intersectional approaches (gender, race, class, age, sexuality, ability, citizenship)

 Please send title, abstract (max 250 words) and author details, plus any enquiries about the session, to the convenors:  Christine Schenk (christine.schenk@ouce.ox.ac.uk), Negar Elodie Behzadi (elodie.behzadi@sant.ox.ac.uk), and Akanksha Awal (akanksha.awal@sjc.ox.ac.uk) by 29 January 2017.

 References

 Abu-Lughod L 2002 Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others American Anthropologist 104 783-790

Abu-Lughod L 2016 The cross-publics of ethnography: The case of “the Muslimwoman” American Ethnologist 43 595-608

Dwyer C 2016 Why does religion matter for cultural geographers? Social & Cultural Geography 17 758-762

Ehrkamp P 2012 Migrants, mosques, and minarets in Silberman M, Till K and Ward J eds Walls, borders, boundaries: Spatial and cultural practices in Europe Berghahn Books, New York 152 – 172

Falah G-W and Nagel C R 2005 Geographies of Muslim women: Gender, religion, and space Guilford Press, New York

Gökariksel B and Secor A 2010 Between fashion and tesettür: Marketing and consuming women’s Islamic dress Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 6 118-148

Gökarıksel B and Secor A 2012 “Even I was tempted”: The moral ambivalence and ethical practice of veiling-fashion in Turkey Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102 847-862

Gökarıksel B and Secor A 2015 Post-secular geographies and the problem of pluralism: Religion and everyday life in Istanbul, Turkey Political Geography 46 21-30

Hopkins P 2009 Women, men, positionalities and emotion: Doing feminist geographies of religion ACME: An international E-journal for critical geographies 8 1-17

Kong L 2001 Mapping ‘new’ geographies of religion: Politics and poetics in modernity Progress in Human Geography 25 211-233

Kong L 2010 Global shifts, theoretical shifts: Changing geographies of religion Progress in Human Geography 34 755-776

Mahmood S 2005 Politics of piety: The Islamic revival and the feminist subject Princeton University Press, Princeton

Mahmood S 2006 Secularism, hermeneutics, and empire: The politics of Islamic reformation Public Culture 18 323

Secor A 2001a Islamist politics: Antisystemic or post-modern movements? Geopolitics 6 117-134

Secor A J 2001b Toward a feminist counter-geopolitics: Gender, space and Islamist politics in Istanbul Space and Polity 5 191-211

Spivak G C 1988 Can the subaltern speak? in Nelson C and Grossberg L eds Marxism and the interpretation of culture University of Illinios Press, Urbana 271-313

Stewart K 2007 Ordinary affects Duke University Press, Durham, NC

Tse J K H 2013 Grounded theologies: ‘Religion’ and the ‘secular’ in human geography Progress in Human Geography 38 201-220

Williams P 2012 India’s Muslims, lived secularism and realising citizenship Citizenship studies 16 979-995

Williams P 2014 Everyday peace, agency and legitimacy in North India in Williams P, Megoran N and McConnell F eds The geographies of peace: New approaches to boundaries, diplomacy and conflict resolution Tauris, London 194-211

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