Gender, Knowledge, and Sufism: An Islamic Feminist Approach

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Public Lecture by Professor Sa’diyya Shaikh from University of Cape Town on May 2, 2017, at Freie Universität Berlin

‘ 099/2017 from Apr 28, 2017

On May 2, 2017, religious studies scholar Sa’diyya Shaikh from the University of Cape Town will give a public lecture entitled "Gender, Knowledge, and Sufism: An Islamic Feminist Approach." In her lecture Sa’diyya Shaikh, who is currently a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, will show how feminist theory of knowledge and an exploration of the category of "experience" can be made fruitful for the study of Islam and Muslim societies. The event is being organized by the Dahlem Humanities Center of Freie Universität in cooperation with the Forum Transregional Studies and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. The lecture will be held in English. Admission is free.

From the perspective of feminist theory, Sa’diyya Shaikh examines how mystical and secular conceptions of "experience" produce "gendered" knowledge in Islamic contexts. In doing so, she deals critically with contemporary representations of female experience as well as with aspects of Muslim traditions. Starting with a feminist re-reading of texts by the Sufi intellectual Muhyi al-Din Ibn ’Arabi from the 13th century, Sa’diyya Shaikh would like to contribute to a critical examination of feminist epistemology as well as to a new and emerging knowledge about Islamic feminists.

The Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC) at Freie Universität Berlin builds on the most complete range of disciplines in the humanities to be found in Germany. With numerous, mostly public events, DHC promotes international dialogue in the humanities as well as the mediation of humanities research findings beyond the borders of the university.

During each academic year, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin invites up to 50 scientists and scholars from the fields of the humanities and natural and social sciences to spend a period of time on its premises, working on a research project in their own field while having scheduled opportunities for intense encounters with scholars from other disciplines and knowledge cultures, which is intended as a catalyst to facilitate a critical examination for sharpening their own approach.

The Forum Transregional Studies in Berlin is a research organization set up to contribute to the internationalization of humanities and social sciences. It creates space for cooperation among scholars with different regional and disciplinary perspectives and offers an opportunity to test and develop research ideas and projects. Like the Wissenschaftskolleg, it invites fellows from all over the world.


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