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Law On Trial 2017: Religion On Trial - "Islamic Law and Gender Justice"

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Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street

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WC1E 7HX

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Wednesday 14th June -"Islamic Law and Gender Justice" (Qudsia Mirza)

Reformist and progressive scholars are reinterpreting the sources of Shari’a in order to challenge interpretations of the Qur’an and the Hadith literature within the classical Islamic tradition which have given rise to a normative gender hierarchy. In engaging in this project, such scholars are also reconfiguring received notions of interpretive authority – both in Muslim majority societies as well as in the Muslim diaspora. Reformists are said to be involved in a ‘democratisation of ijtihad’ in which they are challenging the traditional producers of religious knowledge, the power and authority of interpretive communities, and are opening up the question of who has the authority to interpret the sources of Shari’a.

Reformers are engaged in an epistemological project of challenging interpretations of the Islamic tradition which have produced theological, legal and ethical principles that conflict with contemporary notions of gender equality. They are engaged in a ‘liberatory praxis’ which gives rise to more progressive notions of gender and equality and which are better suited to contemporary times. This panel addresses a number of key questions that are pertinent to the development of the contemporary reformist movement, particularly in the area of Islamic feminism. How do reformists/feminists conceptualise the notions of gender and equality in their interpretations of the tradition? To what extent does a reconfiguration of gendered rights entail a reliance upon the notion of an Islamic ‘purity of origin’ and a discourse of authenticity? How do reformists reconcile the needs of modernity with the classical tradition, particularly in their choice of interpretive methodologies?

Speakers:

Amanullah De Sondy, University College Cork

Qudsia Mirza, Birkbeck, University of London

Further speakers TBC

This is a free event, however booking is required.


Law On Trial 2017: Religion On Trial

The School of Law’s annual ‘Law On Trial’ event, a week-long programme of free to attend public lectures and panel discussions will this year focus on the theme of ‘Religion On Trial’. Running from Monday 12th to Friday 16th June 2017, the event brings together academic staff from around the world, recognised internationally as authorities in their field.

In light of various scholarly efforts (history, theology, sociology, hermeneutics) we are able to analyse what the experience of past years has allowed us to conclude regarding the dependence of power networks upon communitarian structures based on religion. Doubtlessly, religious evolution needs to be read autonomously. Even so, the new world-wide take-off of religion allows us to grasp:

• Longstanding South-North confrontations, the worldwide defeat of institutionalized socialism and the neoliberal exacerbation of global inequality, have generated an immense suck for plausible programs. Political principle has lost its credibility and is no longer able to channel such promises. How can religion found a new power politics?

• How can standard versions of liberalism be modified, put upside down, replaced, etc., in order to enable religious forms absent from its own genesis to find their place?

• Modernity, historically speaking, is the result of efforts in favour of dividing up that which makes sense inside of religion, from that which makes sense outside of religion. Modernity's religion does not include everything. Yet, on closer look, not all religious traditions sit equally well with such a divide. Friday’s lecture will discuss the relevant aspects of Christianism.

• An important percentage of the world’s population is born into one or the other forms of Islam. This gives rise to encounters with diverse issues, as they used to be flourishing, in non-Islamic cultures, outside of religion. By means of which concepts and operations does Islamic international economy function in international economy today? What is the state of the questions of Feminism and Gender studies in the Islamic world today? Two of our sessions will deal with these questions.

• The world of religions today includes an important number of non-standard religions. The case of the Rastafarians extends as far into the history of music as into that of religiously inspired spirituality. One of our sessions will be devoted to the Rastafarians.

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Birkbeck, University of London

Malet Street

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WC1E 7HX

United Kingdom

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