Muslim Identities and Cultures

This working group studies Muslim identities and cultures from multiple standpoints including but not limited to: race, gender, queer (of color) theory, nationalism, critical cultural geography, etc.

Muslim Identities and Cultures Events

Image for 4 2018 Muslim Identities and Cultures Event

Caste, Gender & Anti-Islamophobic Struggles In South India: Networked Solidarities & Divergences

04.28.2018 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

A talk by Cynthia Stephen

Cynthia Stephen is an independent social policy researcher and analyst and independent journalist. She is also a well-known trainer on Gender, policy and Development issues. She has written a number of articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals as well as contributed chapters to several books including on the girl child and experiences of discrimination in higher education in India. Her body of work includes leadership in several people’s initiatives for justice, in large country-wide women’s empowerment groups, and theoretical work on women’s concerns from the unrecognized perspective of women and girls from the large number of marginalised sections in India. She represents three of them – being a woman, a religious minority (in India), and also being identified with the Dalit community, from among the former untouchables in India. She is President of the Training, Editorial and Development Services Trust, (TEDS Trust), and is based in Bangalore, India.

Presented by the Townsend Center & CRG Working Group on Muslim Identities & Cultures.

Flyer for 11-14-2017 MIC Event

Little Big Steps: Book Reading by Arash Bayatmakou

11.14.2017 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Arash Bayatmakou, Iranian-American author of the inspiring new book, Little Big Steps, is an entrepreneur, athlete, motivational speaker, and writer with an award-winning blog that details his ongoing recovery from a traumatic spinal cord injury suffered in 2012.

In 2015, Bayatmakou, co-founded No Limits Collaborative, a non-profit aimed at helping people with neurological conditions to access exercise, physical therapy and improved quality of life. He has also established a regularly occurring standup comedy show that raises funds for people with spinal cord injuries.

In these times of darkness, we are continuously in need of inspiration. Inspiration to be fierce, inspiration to be determined, inspiration to fight against the odds, inspiration to smile through it all. And we shall succeed. Like Arash. Please come to the book reading.

Presented by the CRG Working Group on Muslim Identities & Cultures.

Flyer for 11-8-2017 MIC Event

Kashmiri Women in Resistance: Indian Occupation & Silenced Histories

11.08.2017 | 4:30 – 6:00 PM |  132 Boalt Hall

with Huma Dar and Idrisa Pandit

Kashmir is not only the world’s most militarized land, it is also the first international territorial dispute to ever be considered at the UN. Decades of active resistance by Kashmiris has resulted in waves of exiles, massacres, target killings, hundreds of torture centers, enforced disappearances, rape as a tool of war, the use of human shields, censorship, surveillance regimes, and systematic structural & institutional violence at discursive and embodied levels by the apparatus of the Indian Occupation.

Despite all political and social odds, Kashmiri women exercise their agency as active participants in documenting, reporting, filming, protesting, and legally prosecuting the abuses committed against them and their fellow Kashmiris. This discussion will focus on the resistance of women, queer and non-binary gender Kashmiris to the draconian Dogra rule; to the ethnic cleansing that preceded and accompanied the illegal occupation of Kashmir by India on Oct 26, 1947; to the LoC (or Line of Control), which to this day divides neighbors, families, and mothers from their children across Kashmir; to today’s hypermilitarized counter-insurgency operations of the Indian occupation.

Huma Dar’s 
work is focused on the intersections and co-formations of race, religion, class, caste, gender, sexuality, and national politics of South Asia and South Asian Diasporas, centered on intellectual and political activism for social justice.

Idrisa Pandit is an Associate Professor and Director of Studies in Islam at the University of Waterloo.  Her current research interests include the Kashmir conflict, particularly as it relates to youth, women, and Islam.

Sponsored by the Center for Race & Gender, Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights, the Muslim Identities & Cultures Working Group, the International Human Rights Law Center, and the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law.

Grid of ethnic tiles

Dalit Feminist Emancipation in Modern India: Refusing to Sweep & Be Swept Under the Rug

06.24.2016 | 6:00 – 8:00 PM |  554 Barrows Hall

Important discussion between Dalitbahujan academics and activists on Dalit emancipation, gender, sexuality, labor rights, and annihilation of caste in contemporary India.

Professor Sujatha Surepally is an activist cum academician. She currently works as the Principal of the University College of Arts, Social Science and Commerce with the Satavahana University, Karimangar. She has been teaching Sociology for over 13 years. She has written articles dalits, land displacement, dalit women, on SEZs, Anti Polavaram Dam movement and Telangana movement. She has been a regular columnist with Telugu dailies and edits a quarterly namely Desi Disha. Her interests are in active participation in the struggles against caste and gender disparity as well as Adivasis rights, environmental issues, natural resources and Telengana. She hold a Masters in Sociology and has done her Ph.D on Dalit Women’s Empowerment.

Professor Carmel Christy K.J. is an Assistant Professor at Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi. Currently, she is a Fulbright-Nehru postdoctoral fellow at University of California Santa Cruz. Her postdoctoral project attempts to analyse the interconnections between landlessness, caste and Dalit women subjects in the context of Kerala, India. Her book on caste and sexuality titled ‘Sexuality debates in the public space of India: Reading the visible’ is all set to come out by late 2016.

Obalesh Bhemappa hails from the Madiga community, historically been the most marginalized even among the dalit communities. It is also one of the ‘untouchable’ communities. The Madigas form about 95% of the sweepers and manual scavengers in Karnataka. He is one of the few people in the community to have even completed schooling (10th std). Since then he has been working to organize manual scavenging community through various interventions in the Tumkur district. Obalesh and his team work in the Tumkur district which is around 100 KMs from the Banaglore metropolis. Thamate’s interventions to eradicate manual scavenging are three-fold – In the case of youngsters, provide avenues and encouragement to stay away from this hereditary profession and take up alternative employment; in the case of those who’ve spent decades working already, fight for access to entitlements such as minimum wage, PF, health insurance, safety equipment etc; and in the case of kids, provide them sufficient educational support in the form of after-school tuition classes to ensure their academic progress.

Event organized by the Muslim Identities & Cultures - a Center for Race & Gender & Townsend Center Working Group. Co-sponsored by Department of Ethnic Studies and the Program in Asian American & Asian Diasporas Studies, University of California at Berkeley.

Flyer for 11-6-2015 MIC Event

Scandals of Seduction and the Seduction of Scandal: Feminist Injury and the Muslim Difference

11.06.2015 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Scandals of Seduction and the Seduction of Scandal: Feminist Injury and the Muslim Difference
with Dina M. Siddiqi

This paper revolves around two distinct but entangled lines of inquiry. The first considers the spectacle of Muslim female vulnerability in relation to projects of global solidarity and sisterhood. In light of the entrenched, recursive nature of prevailing associations between Islam and spectacularized cultural violence, I ask what counts as a feminist injury and for whom. Under what conditions is the normative feminist gaze scandalized, and what does this imply for the politics of seeing and not seeing? I suggest that in addition to long-sedimented Orientalist tropes of Muslim women’s bodies under threat, secular liberal sensibilities toward pain — visible, bodily and attributable to religious backwardness — render certain kinds of injury always already scandalous. Less spectacular forms of (secular) violence do not offend contemporary moral sensibilities in quite the same manner. I go on to explore the implications of viewing women’s injuries through the ensuing distinction between religiously inflicted ‘illiberal’ pain and less visible ‘secular’ forms of suffering. Drawing on a study of informal fatwas and legal judgments on rape, I argue that in the particular instance of rural Bangladesh, resulting analytical blind spots allow questions of female desire and sexual agency to be perpetually elided.

Event organized by CRG Research Working Group - Muslim Identities & Cultures.

Flyer for 11-2-2015 MIC Event

A Thin Wall - A Film On Partition 1947: Film Screening and Discussion

11.06.2015 | 3:00 – 5:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

A THIN WALL by Mara Ahmed is a documentary about memory, history and the possibility of reconciliation. It focuses on the Partition of India in 1947, but derives lessons that remain urgently relevant today. Shot on both sides of the border, in India and Pakistan, A THIN WALL is a personal take on Partition rooted in stories passed down from one generation to another. It is written and directed by Mara Ahmed and co-produced by Surbhi Dewan. Both filmmakers are descendants of families torn apart by Partition. The film is also a work of art infused with original animation, music and literary writing.

Mara Ahmed has lived and been educated in Belgium, Pakistan and the United States. She has a Master’s in Business and Economics. For most of her life she worked in corporate finance. In 2004, Mara resigned from her job in order to devote herself to her true passion: art and film.

Mara’s artwork was exhibited at the Kinetic Gallery in 2008 and more recently at the Colacino Gallery in Rochester, NY. The shows were multi-media fusions of her collage work, photography and film work. Mara’s film training began at the Visual Studies Workshop in 2006, and later continued at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Event organized by CRG Research Working Group - Muslim Identities & Cultures.