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IRWG Lecture: Caught in the Cross-Publics of the "Muslimwoman"

Monday, September 22, 2014
12:00 AM
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, Room 100

This event is sponsored by IRWG

Lila Abu-Lughod will reflect on two unanticipated aspects of the passionate and polarized after-life of her attempt to intervene in debates about Muslim women and their rights, through her book Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Her intention was to present alternatives to the highly mediated and institutionalized public production of what miriam cooke has called “the Muslimwoman,” first by subjecting the debates to ethnographic scrutiny and second by offering alternative frameworks drawn from long-term fieldwork in Egypt, but the work was received unevenly by diverse publics. Responses ranged from near-silence from the target public to discomfiting anger from a Palestinian hip hop group with a feminist song to touching personal affirmations from marginalized counter-publics of Muslim women in the West. British anthropologist Marilyn Strathern long ago pointed to the awkwardness of the relationship between anthropology and feminism. This awkwardness may have intensified as feminism has gone transnational and aligned itself with human rights and humanitarianism.

Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University