Reading for Gender in Islamic Law

February 18, 2021 - 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Dr. Saadia Yacoob

This talk focuses on discussions about consent to marriage in Islamic law, and asks whether gender is a predictable determiner of an individual's legal status. From the marriage of free individuals to enslaved people and children, Muslim jurists considered a number of social factors in determining whether an individual had the right of consent to marriage. Thinking at the intersection of these different social identities allows us to see that gender was not the primary identity through which social relations were ordered in Islamic law. An intersectional analysis demonstrates that to fully grasp the complex social order imagined and authorized by Muslim jurists, we must think beyond the gender binary.

Saadia Yacoob is Assistant Professor of Religion at Williams College. She holds a PhD in Islamic studies from Duke University and an MA from the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. She has also studied Islamic law in Egypt and Jordan. Her research focuses on gender, childhood, and enslavement in Islamic law. Her forthcoming book manuscript titled Reading Gender in Early Islamic Law investigates the intersections of gender, age, and enslavement in the construction of legal personhood in Hanafi law. More broadly, her research interests include Islamic legal history, Muslim feminist studies, history of sexuality, and slavery studies.

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