Rethinking Muslim Women and Feminism: Historical and Contemporary Issues

Editor: Amina Hussain, Assistant Professor of English, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Language University, Lucknow

Concept Note

Feminism is a long history of struggle and sacrifice. The first wave was about legal and educational equality steering through a successful suffragette movement. The second wave encouraged by the World Wars broaden the debate to sexual politics and reproductive rights leading to theoretical discussions on “power structured relationships” where all
personal became political. The exclusion of race and class from the feminist movement gave birth to the third wave which saw the feminist movement as essentially a middle-class white women movement which in its exclusionary nature could not encapsulate the experiences of women of colour and often projected Third world women as stereotyped objects devoid of agency and thus needed to be rescued by
the white western feminist.

Undoubtedly Feminism has often served as a handmaid to Imperialism in order to propagate European progressive liberalism in critiquing the savagery of the third world with respect to their women in an attempt famously described as “saving brown women from brown men.”

In its all-inclusivity, deconstructing gender binary
and analysing the intersectionality of race, class,
ethnicities and culture, the third wave of feminism opens door to Muslim feminism, which is often ridiculed in the western academia as a riddle or an oxymoron. It is partly because of the widespread Islamophobia with questions like “can you be a feminist if you are still veiled”? only shows that Muslim women are still orientalised as either exotic/sexual objects or hapless in need for rescue by the western world. Chandra Mohanty Talpade in her critique of western feminism uses the Iranian Revolution of 1979, where Muslim women unanimously adopted veiling as a sign of protest and affirmation of self against the west.

On the other hand Muslim feminists like Asma
Barlas, Leila Ahmed and Fatema Mernissi to name a few are questioning the patriarchal interpretation and acculturation of Islamic texts that reinforce women’s oppression. Margot Badran uses the term ‘Islamic Feminism’ as an empowering movement based on the ijtihadic practices promoting gender equality within the religious space changing the dynamics of
the public sphere. Muslim feminism also injects the role of faith in freedom. Emerging writers like Leila Aboulela, Shelina Janmohamad, Randa Abdel-Fattah and critics like Amin Malak argue for the primacy of faith in the narrative as a decolonial process of manifesting an un-European identity and a way of life and

With this background, original and unpublished papers are invited on the following but not limited to:

  • • Muslim women and Islam
  • • Muslim women, Identity and Culture
  • • Muslim women, Conflict and Trauma
  • • Islamic Feminism, Theory and Practice
  • • Muslim women, Representation and Media
  • • Muslim women in Diaspora
  • • Politics of Veiling and Unveiling
  • • Muslim women and Public Un/Presence
  • • Arab/African Feminism
  • • South Asian Muslim women
  • • Transnational Muslim Feminism
  • • Muslim women, Social Media and MeToo#

Submission Guidelines

for the papers as per MLA 8th edition. All submissions and enquiry to be addressed at

The book will be published by an international publisher based in London, New York, and New Delhi with ISBN, British Library and Library of Congress cataloguing.

Last date of submission: 31 August 2021

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