Muslim Women and the Freedom to Choose

Lila Abu-Lughod

Lila Abu-Lughod. Photo by Martyn Gallina Jones.

Part of the Morgan Lectureship Series

Dickinson will host anthropologist and author Lila Abu-Lughod for a discussion of the public debates surrounding Muslim women and common interpretations of choice. Her lecture, “Muslim Women and the Freedom to Choose,” will take place Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium. It will be followed by a book sale and signing. 

Abu-Lughod will discuss the limitations of Western constructions of freedom and oppression in relation to Muslim women by examining the women of one Egyptian village. Veiling and arranged marriage are practices that the West interprets as limitations to women’s freedom; however, the discussion surrounding these practices rarely contains Muslim women’s viewpoints. Veiling and arranged marriage contain complexities and benefits for Muslim women who willingly participate for diverse reasons, Abu-Lughod argues.

Abu-Lughod is the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University where she teaches anthropology and women’s studies. Her research interests include the relationship between cultural forms and power, the politics of knowledge and representation, and questions of human and women’s rights in the Middle East and globally. In 1996, Abu-Lughod was a Guggenheim Fellow for Social Sciences. She has published several award-winning books, including Do Muslim Women Need SavingVeiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society, Writing Women’s Worlds: Bedouin Stories, and Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Abu-Lughod’s books and articles have been translated into 14 languages.

The event is a part of the Morgan Lectureship series, which brings to campus a scholar in residence to meet informally with individuals and class groups and to deliver the Morgan Lecture on topics in the social sciences and humanities. This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Morgan Lecture fund. It also is part of the Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty series. 

Learn more

Published February 23, 2017