This month, Palgrave Macmillan releases “Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women’s Rights in Pakistan” by Anita M. Weiss (University of Oregon). The publisher’s description follows:
In Pakistan, myriad constituencies are grappling with reinterpreting women’s rights. This book analyzes the Government of Pakistan’s construction of an understanding of what constitutes women’s rights, moves on to address traditional views and contemporary popular opinion on women’s rights, and then focuses on three very different groups’ perceptions of women’s rights: progressive women’s organizations as represented by the Aurat Foundation and Shirkat Gah; orthodox Islamist views as represented by the Jama’at-i-Islami, the MMA government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (2002-08) and al-Huda; and the Swat Taliban. Author Anita M. Weiss analyzes the resultant “culture wars” that are visibly ripping the country apart, as groups talk past one another – each confident that they are the proprietors of culture and interpreters of religion while others are misrepresenting it
Next month, Cambridge will publish Monastic Women and Religious Orders in Late Medieval Bologna, by Sherri Franks Johnson (University of California, Riverside). The publisher’s description follows.
Sherri Franks Johnson explores the roles of religious women in the changing ecclesiastical and civic structure of late medieval Bologna, demonstrating how convents negotiated a place in their urban context and in the church at large. During this period Bologna was the most important city in the Papal States after Rome. Using archival records from nunneries in the city, Johnson argues that communities of religious women varied in the extent to which they sought official recognition from the male authorities of religious orders. While some nunneries felt that it was important to their religious life to gain recognition from monks and friars, others were content to remain local and autonomous. In a period often described as an era of decline and the marginalization of religious women, Johnson shows instead that they saw themselves as active participants in their religious orders, in the wider church and in their local communities.
Next month, Oxford will publish Deborah’s Daughters: Gender Politics and Biblical Interpretation, by Joy A. Schroeder (Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary). The publisher’s description follows.
Joy A. Schroeder offers the first in-depth exploration of the biblical story of Deborah, an authoritative judge, prophet, and war leader. For centuries, Deborah’s story has challenged readers’ traditional assumptions about the place of women in society.
Schroeder shows how Deborah’s story has fueled gender debates throughout history. An examination of the prophetess’s journey through nearly two thousand years of Jewish and Christian interpretation shows how the biblical account of Deborah was deployed against women, for women, and by women who aspired to leadership roles in church and society. Numerous women—and men who supported women’s aspirations to leadership—used Deborah’s narrative to justify female claims to political and religious authority. Opponents to women’s public leadership endeavored to define Deborah’s role as ”private” or argued that she was a divinely authorized exception, not to be emulated by future generations of women.
Deborah’s Daughters provides crucial new insight into the the history of women in Judaism and Christianity, and into women’s past and present roles in the church, synagogue, and society.
Next month, I.B. Tauris Publishers will publish Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Process edited by Lena Larsen, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Christian Moe and Kari Vogt. The publisher’s description follows.
This book examines how male authority is sustained through law and court practice, the consequences for women and the family, and the demands made by Muslim women’s groups. Examining the construction of male guardianship (qiwama, wilaya) in the Islamic tradition, it also seeks to create an argument for women’s full equality before the law. Bringing together renowned Muslim scholars and experts, anthropologists who have carried out fieldwork in family courts, and human rights and women’s rights activists from different parts of the Muslim world, from Morocco to Egypt and Iran, this book develops a framework for rethinking Islamic Law and its traditions in ways that reflect contemporary realities and understandings of justice and gender rights.
Next Month, I. B. Tauris Publishers will publish Muslim Women and Islamic Resurgence: Religion, Education and Identity Politics in Bahrain by Sophia Pandya (California State University Long Beach). The publisher’s description follows.
Bahrain’s tumultuous political landscape often overshadows the societal upheavals that this tiny country is facing. Sophia Pandya cuts through this to examine how international Islamic revivalism coupled with increased secular education has impacted Muslim women’s religious practice and public position. She unsettles assumptions that education is a secularising force for Muslim women, showing that modern education among Bahraini women has in fact deepened both their engagement with Islam and their political participation. Uncovering what transpires when newly educated women have the opportunity to reinterpret religion and gain access to the work place and the political arena, Pandya sheds light on the complex intersections between women and public life, education and Islam. This book provides great insights into religious women’s efforts towards self-determination within conservative Islamic movements as well as the impact of globalisation and wider economic and political developments in Bahrain.
In December, Brandeis University Press will publish an anthology entitled, Gender, Religion, and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions (BUP Dec. 2012) edited by Lisa Fishbayn Joffe (Brandeis) & Sylvia Neil (Chicago Law School). The publisher’s description follows:
In many regions of the world, women’s rights are at the heart of tensions between a commitment to tolerance of religious diversity, enshrined in civil laws, and respect for the rights of the individual, as understood within particularistic religious or cultural custom. These conflicts present pressing challenges for theorists, lawyers, and policymakers. This anthology brings together leading scholars and activists in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian law, and African customary law, who interrogate the utility of recent theoretical models, explore contextual differences, and analyze and celebrate stories of successful initiatives that have transformed legal and cultural norms.
Jessica L. Waters (American University School of Public Affairs) has posted Testing Hosanna-Tabor: The Implications for Pregnancy Discrimination Claims and Employees’ Reproductive Rights. The abstract follows.
In April 2009 Jaretta Hamilton, a married elementary school teacher, was fired after her employer school learned that Hamilton became pregnant prior to her wedding. In October 2010 Christa Dias, an unmarried technology coordinator for two schools, was fired after her employer learned Dias was pregnant via artificial insemination. In 2011, Emily Herx, a married Language Arts teacher who was struggling with infertility, was fired after the school where she had been teaching for seven years learned that Herx was undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments. In the fall of 2011, Cathy Samford, an engaged middle school science teacher and volleyball coach, was fired after her employer discovered Samford’s pregnancy.
Can the employer schools of these four women legally fire them for attempting to become pregnant or actually becoming pregnant? Because the schools in question are religiously-affiliated schools, in the wake of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC the answer may be yes.
Shaheen S. Ali has posted Overlapping Discursive Terrains of Culture, Law and Women’s Rights: An Exploratory Study on Legal Pluralism at Play in Pakistan. The abstract follows.
This paper argues that plural regulatory frameworks (‘laws’ broadly defined) including religion, culture, customs, tradition as well as ‘formal’ law (national and international) informing women’s human rights, collude to create and perpetuate gender hierarchies. Whilst ‘informal’ norms of culture, custom and tradition expressly advance this position, gender neutral laws adopted by the state and her institutions are suspect, as these too, operate within a male socio-legal and political environment. Using the example of Pakistan, the paper attempts to present the contours of an analytical framework for mounting a challenge to plural legal systems from the perspective of women’s lived experiences and realities of their being.
Marie Ashe, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, will publish Women’s Wrongs, Religions’ Rights: Women, Free Exercise, and Establishment in American Law. Please see the abstract below:
This article provides an historical examination of American Constitutional law concerning religion as it has evolved through three periods: the Mormon period of the late nineteenth century; the religious pluralism period of post-WW2 decades; and the multiculturalism period that began around 1990 and that remains underway. It examines Supreme Court interpretations of First Amendment provisions pertaining to religion, and it contextualizes those interpretations to explore their implications for women’s liberty and equality at each of the three periods. Its argument is that Constitutional doctrine relating to religion – through its multiple doctrinal reversals – has consistently entailed and depended upon negative constructions of women, sacrificing women’s liberty and equality interests in order to prefer and to cultivate the liberty and equality interests of churches.
In June, Columbia University Press will publish Europe’s Muslim Women: Beyond the Burqa Controversy, by Dr. Sara Silvestri, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at City University London. Silvestri’s text attempts to transcend the international debates—e.g., about the burqa, the niqab, and subjection to men—surrounding Muslim women in Europe that inadvertently have the effect of obscuring who these women actually are. Through the content of interviews and surveys, Silvestri hopes to paint a truer portrait of the domestic, religious, and socio-political identities of Europe’s Muslim women.
Please see the publisher’s description after the jump. Continue reading