WGSS 242
Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Islam Spring 2015
Division II
Cross-listed ARAB 242 / REL 242 / WGSS 242
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The figure of the Muslim woman is an object of intense scrutiny in Western society. Claims that Muslim women are oppressed and the incompatibility of Islam and feminism abound. This course will consider women and gender roles in the Islamic tradition and how Muslim women have interpreted and negotiated these discourses. We will explore questions of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality across various historical periods as well as through contemporary Muslim feminist scholarship and literature (including film and novels). We will begin with insights into the politics of representing Muslim women, exploring how Muslim women are depicted in popular culture and media and ask the crucial question: do Muslim women need saving? We will then explore: how Muslim women have claimed religious authority through scriptural interpretation; how they have negotiated their position in Islamic law both historically and in contemporary Muslim societies; and the lives of pious women in Sufism–the mystical tradition of Islam. We will conclude with Muslim feminist scholarship and recent works on Islamic masculinities. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on the diversity of interpretations in Islam around women, gender, and sexuality and on Muslim women’s own articulations about their religious identity and experiences. Some of the topics covered in this course include: marriage and divorce, slavery, modesty and veiling, and homosexuality.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 3994
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation (including a presentation on the reading materials), short weekly reflections, and one final research paper (10-15 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Religion, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Arabic majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 242 Division II REL 242 Division II WGSS 242 Division II

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