This course will critically explore diverse interpretations of women and gender within Islamic traditions and Muslim communities. It will examine depictions of women and gender in the primary sources; classical exegetical and legal interpretations; and, mainly, contemporary interpretations. The course will also consider potential extensions of contemporary interpretation to broader gender-related topics.

This course endeavors to introduce the complexity and diversity of Muslim women’s attempts to assert agency and authority. Great emphasis will be placed on developing a nuanced grasp of hermeneutical strategies, competing discourses, and identity and power negotiations. As a result, this course is relevant to students interested in Islam, interested in sex and gender, and/or interested in strategies for crafting powerful, inclusive interpretations of tradition.