Vernacular Not Secular: An Examination of Islamic Feminism as a "Homegrown" Movement Through the Works of Fatima Mernissi and Amina Wadud Open Access

Averill, Abigail Franklin (2015)

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Feminism is a word which has become entrenched in American lexicon thanks to the long existence of women's activism in this country. However, this association of feminism with the West has plagued gender equality activists working in different social, cultural, and religious contexts. One such group that has been challenged by their supposed "W estern" sympathies is the Islamic Feminist movement. These women, whose work utilizes Islam as the primary proof of gender equality, are themselves divided by the controversy over their identity. This thesis seeks to understand the relationship of "Western" feminism with the activism practiced by Islamic feminists and, in the process, show that while the term "feminist" may have Western roots, it can and does grow most effectively in local soil. In order to perform this examination, this work analyzes the activism of two prominent Islamic Feminists, Amina Wadud and Fatima Mernissi, as a case study for the movement as a whole.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Amina Wadud and Qur'anic Hermeneutics 14

Chapter 2: Fatima Mernissi: Identity, Authority, and Activism 36

Chapter 3: Fragmentation, Methodology, and Identity 60

In Conclusion 73

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