Lebanese American University

New York Academic Center

Islamic Feminism and Arab Family Law Reform in Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon

Nov 12, 2019

This panel is organized at the conclusion of a conference discussing and identifying perspectives emanating from the results of a two-year research project on Islamic feminism and reform of Islamic Family Laws in three selected Arab countries – Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon.

The project, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has analyzed research and activism relevant for family law revision within an Islamic framework as a transnational social movement in the Arab region, and related these findings directly to the reform processes of the three selected national frameworks of family laws, Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon.

More information about the project can be found here

The event will take place in the Lebanese American University New York Headquarters and Academic Center. The research findings will present and discuss their findings and the innovative recommendations outlined in policy briefs.

5:30 PM Welcome Myriam Sfeir, Director of Arab Institute for Women, Lebanese American University

5:45 PM “Islamic feminism and Arab family law reform”, Principal Investigator, Ph.D. Connie C. Christiansen, Arab Institute for Women, Lebanese American University

6:00 PM “Islamic Feminism as Knowledge Building Project: Possibilities and Challenges for Religious and Legal Reform”, Ass. Professor, Ph.D. Mulki Al-Sharmani, University of Helsinki, Finland

6:30 PM Discussion initiated by

Professor Suad Joseph, Professor of Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies, University of California, Davis

Professor Emerita Azizah Al-Hibri, Richmond University & founding Director, KARAMAH

Professor Ziba Mir-Hosseini, SOAS, University of London & Visiting Professor, New York University Law School

7:30 PM Reception 


Brief bios

Mulki Al-Sharmani is Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland. Recently, she finalized a five year research project on transnational and national strands of Islamic feminism with a focus on Egypt; prior to this Dr. Al-Sharmani studied family law and family court practices in Egypt. She received her M.A from the American University of Cairo, Egypt, and her Ph.D from the Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

Connie Carøe Christiansen has her M.A and Ph.D. in Anthropology from University of Copenhagen, and is Principal Investigator in the collaborative research project “Reform of Islamic Family Laws – a Transnational Social Movement Perspective”. 2017-2019 she was a visiting Associate Professor at Arab Institute for Women/ School of Art and Sciences, Lebanese-American University. Dr. Christiansen has in her research focused on gender, Islam, feminism and migration in the Middle East and North Africa.

Suad Joseph is Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis.  She founded the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UCD, the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, the Arab Families Working Group, and the pre-cursor of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Joseph obtained her Ph.D from Columbia University.  Her research has focused on the relationships between religion and politics, family and the state, gender and citizenship, children and rights, and culturally specific notions of selfhood. She is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures.

Azizah Al-Hibri, Esq. is Professor Emerita, at the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond & founding Director of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. Dr. al-Hibri began her career as a professor of philosophy and is the co-editor of Technology and Human Affairs, and founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 and worked as a corporate law associate on Wall Street before focusing her efforts on human rights and Islamic jurisprudence.

Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a legal anthropologist, specializing in Islamic law, gender and Islamic feminism, and a founding member of the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. She is Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, SOAS, University of London; currently Hauser Global Law Visiting Professor at NYU Law School, a position she held since 2002.  She has published books on Islamic family law in Iran and Morocco, Iranian clerical discourses on gender, Islamic reformist thinkers, and the revival of zina laws.


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