Just between us: identity and representation among Muslim women
Abstract Postcolonial feminist re-presentations of Muslim women as subjects and agents have successfully cleared a space for unsettling oppressive colonial representations of Muslim women as unchanging victims of patriarchal religion and Muslim men. This space has also brought into view new problems and issues that divide Muslim women into feminist and fundamentalists, secular and religious, diasporic and native. In this paper I focus on one of the most contentious issues of Muslim women’s representation: secular feminists’ attempts to re-present women in Islamic religious movements. In this process I examine some of the normative and ethical dimensions of feminist research as they emerged in my research with women in the Jamaat-e-Islami a movement for religious reform and renewal in Pakistan. I reflect critically on issues in feminist research across ideological differences, incongruent locations and divergent cultural and spiritual investments.
Keywords: Feminist research; reflexivity; Islamism; Islamist women; Jamaat-e-Islami; Muslim women; Islam; Pakistani women
Amina Jamal is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. She is currently writing a book on the cultural and political activism of Jamaat-e-Islami women in Pakistan. Jamal’s work has been published in Signs, Meridians, Feminist Review and the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies.