In this lecture Professor 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?" She explains, “Although my 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, 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 on the one hand to touching personal affirmations from marginalized counter-publics of Muslim women in the West on the other. 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, directs the Middle East Institute and teaches anthropology and gender studies at Columbia University. She is a former director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and also of the Center for the Study of Social Difference.
Presented by the Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG) with cosponsorship from the Department of Anthropology, Arab American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and the University Library.