Do Muslim Women Have Rights? An Anthropologist's View of the Debates about Muslim Women's Human Rights in the Context of the "Clash of Civilizations"


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines, from an anthropological perspective, the ethical issues raised by the international circulation of discourses on “Muslim women’s rights.” If Muslim women’s rights cannot be detached from history and the field of representations in which they are embedded, how can one make the case for gender justice in ways that do not become grounds for the “clash of civilizations?” The project addresses five questions: Do Muslim women need saving? What is the relationship between religion and rights? Who defines women’s rights and how do such definitions circulate globally? How do new feminist legal categories such as the honor crime come into being? And finally, what role does popular literature in the West play in naturalizing views of Muslim women’s rights?