Tuesday 26th November 2019, 8:00pm
Session 224: “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival” by Saba Mahmood
For this session, Tanja Luchsinger selected the essay “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival” by Saba Mahmood (Cultural Anthropology, Vol.16, May 2001).
In this essay, Mahmood explores the complicated relationship between feminist scholarship and women involved in what they would label as “patriarchal religious traditions” such as Islam. She sheds light on a specific (secular-liberal/western) notion of “human agency” applied in a lot of feminist work which according to her limits the ability to understand the actions of women whose lives and desires have been shaped by non-liberal traditions. This essay offers an opportunity to question the concept of agency, the desire for freedom and look at the dilemma some issues of cultural specificity poses for secular-liberal politics today.