Barlas to Discuss Patriarchy, Sexual Equality and the Qur'an in Guest Lecture, March 4

Asma Barlas
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Asma Barlas

Asma Barlas, professor of politics at Ithaca College, will give a lecture entitled "Sex & Scripture: What Can the Qur'an Tell Us About Gender Equality?" The lecture will take place at 5:15 p.m. Monday, March 4, in Gearhart Hall Room 26 at the University of Arkansas. It is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Barlas will discuss what the Qur'an has to say about women's rights, patriarchy, and sexual equality within a broader context of ongoing global violence against all women.

The Qur'an is Islam's scripture which observant Muslims take to be God's sacred and infallible word. Like other sacred texts, it also offers rich interpretive possibilities though some readings of it have come to prevail over others during the course of Muslim history.

"Clarity, close scholarly work, and a commitment to gender justice, plus insight on the charged contexts surrounding Qur'an interpretation in our world, mark the approach of Dr. Barlas," says Mohja Kahf, professor of English at the University of Arkansas. Kahf currently teaches a Retro Readings course through the U of A Honors College focused on the study of the Qur'an in its historical context. Her students examine the text from a variety of academic perspectives, including modern feminist and LGBTQ-plus approaches to the text.

Barlas is a Pakistani-American writer and academic. Her specialties include comparative and international politics, Islam and Qur'anic hermeneutics, and women's studies. She is former chair of the Department of Politics and founding director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity at Ithaca College. She has a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy and an M.A in Journalism from Pakistan, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Denver in Colorado.

She is author of Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an (University of Texas Press) and Believing Women in Islam: A Brief Introduction (co-authored with David R. Finn, University of Texas Press), and has published numerous articles on Islam and feminism. Her work on the Qur'an has been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Indonesian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, and German.

Books will be available for purchase from the University of Arkansas Bookstore after the lecture.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Gender Studies Program, the International and Global Studies Program, and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas Honors College.

Learn more about the event on its Facebook page.

Contacts

Nani Verzon, project/program specialist
Middle East Studies Program
479-575-2175, hverzon@uark.edu

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