Feminist Islamic scholar to speak of global movements for women, equality, and justice

amina wadud
Feminist Islamic scholar Amina Wadud, pictured with her grandson, helps reframe the Islamic perspective of women’s roles. (Photo courtesy of Muslima)
The Center for Emerging Worlds at UC Santa Cruz presents the third in its series on the subject of global Islam with "Muslim Women: Equality and Justice Movements Globally" from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Kresge Town Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Speaking will be Amina Wadud, an African American scholar of gender and Islam, and an expert in interpreting the Quran. Her latest book, Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam, (Oneworld Publications, 2006) includes extensive details about her experiences as a Muslim, wife, mother, sister, scholar, and activist.

Feminism and Islam are not widely considered together. Wadud has long specialized in both. She will provide a critical reading of Muslim women's reform movements that emphasizes the historical evolution and distinctions of three major perspectives: secular Muslim women, Islamist women, and the rise of Islamic feminists.

In particular, she will discuss her experiences as a resource scholar with Musawah, a global movement for reform in Muslim family law.

Wadud’s father was a Methodist minister when she was born in Baltimore. She converted to Islam in 1972 during college and officially changed her name from Mary Teasley two years later.

She received a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and later earned a M.A. in Near Eastern Studies, and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan. She studied in Egypt during graduate school, including the American University in Cairo, Cairo University, and Al-Azhar University.

Wadud has taught at the Islamic University of Malaysia, the Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Gadjah Mada University of Indonesia. Her first book, Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective was published in 1999.