“Family, Gender and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia,” a symposium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, October 7-9, 2004. Sponsored by the University’s programs in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Women and Gender in Global Perspectives.
Suad Joseph’s keynote lecture “Family, Gender and State in the Middle East and South Asia” will open the symposium. Panelists will present papers on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Emirates, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Palestine, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Nearly every state in the Middle East and South Asia has joined the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), but with reservations, especially when CEDAW’s standard of equality conflicts with the norms of one or more of the states’ religious communities. The symposium will examine and compare two regions that have in common multi-ethnic and -religious states; family law shaped by religion; and ambivalence toward the western family ideal expressed in nativist and/or religious valorization of difference. The debates and struggles in both regions are about “family,” but women’s bodies and gender roles are often the sites of conflict, and the goal is to shape law. Rather than comparing “traditional” family forms and norms with an ideal modern counterpart the symposium will examine changes in the family and debates about it within a South Asia/Middle East comparative framework. In an age of globalization the ideal western family is always in some sense “present” in the media, government programs, and so on, but a “south-south” comparison de-centers that ideal as normative.
Flavia Agnes, Family Court, Mumbai
Zehra Arat, SUNY
Marilyn Booth, UIUC
Juan Cole, University of Michigan
Ken Cuno, UIUC
Manisha Desai, UIUC
Shelley Feldman, Cornell University
Tom Ginsburg, UIUC
Frances Hasso, Oberlin College
Homa Hoodfar, Concordia University
Winnifred Poster, UIUC
Frances Raday, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Zakia Salime, UIUC
Gail Summerfield, UIUC
Anita Weiss, University of Oregon
Lynn Welchman, SOAS, University of London
The symposium is free and open to the public. For the detailed program visit the web address listed below.
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