Women and the Holy City: Women's Movements in the Struggle over Jerusalem's Sacred Space


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs


International Affairs


Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif and its surroundings have inspired inexhaustible academic and popular fascination. The site has served as a central case for studying the contested interaction of religion and politics in space. Yet the gendered dimensions of inter-communal disputes over sacred space in Jerusalem, and women’s roles in these site-specific conflicts, have been largely neglected. This project examines three contemporary women’s movements in and around the site—Women for the Temple, the Murabitat, and Women of the Wall. Using these cases, the project demonstrates how attention to gender and to women’s engagement in conflict over sacred places is essential for understanding the intra-communal processes that make contested sacred sites increasingly “indivisible” for parties in the inter-communal context. Media engagement for the project will include op-eds, collaboration with print and new media journalists in Israel/Palestine, the United States, and India, presentations in workshops and seminars, and book talks.