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Islam, Gender, Women Unit

Call for Proposals

The IGW unit postponed its 2020 sessions until the 2021 Annual Meeting. As a result, it is not accepting new proposals at this time.

• (Re)Conceptualizing the Field: Scholarship at the Margins of Islam and Gender
This IGW workshop session focuses on conceptualizing the field of Islam and gender, and Islamic studies more broadly, through scholarship at or about the margins of these fields. IGW encourages submissions that center critical race theory, queer theory, transsexuality studies, and decolonial approaches. We especially welcome submissions that deconstruct normative categories (e.g. hegemonic constructions of the Muslim, gender binary, heteronormativity), that propose new categories and theoretical approaches, and that center the voices of marginalized communities.

In keeping with our commitment to non-traditional programming, the session will be organized as a workshop, with discussion tables formed around those pre-circulated readings. Therefore, IGW is not accepting proposals for standard conference papers or for prearranged paper panels. Rather, we solicit proposals from those who would like their recently published or forthcoming article or chapter of a book to serve as a basis for a discussion at the session.

Although we have a strong preference for scholars proposing their own work, we are also willing to consider proposals to serve as table facilitator for a discussion of another scholar’s published work. Should such a proposal be accepted, we would then also encourage the author to attend and participate in the session.

Proposals to IGW for this session need to include:
- an abstract of the piece
- a clear explanation of the contribution the piece makes to the field and how it might help to initiate a discussion on the further development of the field of Islam and gender
- the length of the full piece
- its status in the publishing process (if published, details; if forthcoming, where; etc.) and whether it forms part of a larger project (especially if it is a chapter from a monograph)
- suggestions for possible facilitators for discussion of the piece at the workshop

Approximate Timeline:
March 2: Proposals due through the PAPERS system
March 9: IGW requests full text of articles/chapters/books from finalists before making final selections
August 30: Discussion tables and themes will be announced
September 15: Readings will be posted on the AAR website (accessible for registered participants) and registration for tables is opened

Co-sponsored session with the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion unit
This year, the Islam, Gender, Women unit also welcomes submissions for a co-sponsored session with the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion unit.
Feminist methods and attention to gender within Islamic studies are well established. Scholars and activists have contributed to inquiries into the politics of visibility, homonationalism, decolonialism, gender representation, and the veil (e.g., Jasbir Puar, Saba Mahmood, and Ranjana Khanna). However, as a method and politics lesbian-feminisms remains underrepresented. Outside of religious studies, feminist theorists Sara Ahmed, Robyn Wiegman, and Jennifer Nash critique progress narratives that denigrate lesbian-feminisms; instead, they call for a return to this corpus in order to build a more just society. We are interested in what this might mean for Islamic studies. How might lesbian-feminisms and Islamic studies mutually inform each other? Scholars such as Gabeba Baderoon, Jin Haritaworn, Shanon Shah, Poala Bacchetta, and Krupa Shandilya explore the intersection of lesbian-feminisms with the field of Islamic studies. Proposals might build upon their insights, or propose new possibilities, concerns, and aims. We are especially interested in proposals from scholars of color, graduate students, contingent faculty, and queer and trans scholars.

Statement of Purpose

The Islam, Gender, Women (IGW) Unit uses non-traditional programming to address meta-questions of the study of gender and women in relation to Islam and Muslims, to support the mentoring and development of its scholars, and to create resources and scholarly networks to advance the field. The name IGW signals that the study of gender and women is an essential subfield of the larger study of Islam and Muslims while shifting attention away from the “woman question in Islam” and toward the study of gender. Our unit examines the relational formation and subversion of genders, while still taking into account “women” as they are interpellated by complex social and symbolic systems.

IGW brings together scholars at all career stages, including those working outside the academy. It supports scholarly reflexivity in a collaborative and collegial setting, discussing methods/approaches and the professional dimensions of research and teaching in the field. It fosters collective consideration of the aims, evolution, and lacunae of the field as a way to nurture new lines of inquiry. Our non-traditional programming, such as workshops and mentoring/networking sessions, aims to strengthen rather than compete with the work of related program units, prevent the segregation of scholarship on gender and women into one unit, encourage sustained “mainstream” engagement with questions of gender and women, and expand opportunities for collaboration and conversation with and among other units.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments

For our review of workshop session proposals, proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members during review, but visible to chairs *and* steering committee members prior to final acceptance or rejection. This is a necessary feature of our review process, since we select promising proposals and review full papers (in draft form) prior to making our final selections. For other session types, proposals are anonymous to chairs and steering committee members until after final acceptance/rejection. For the deliberation process among chairs and steering committee members to select proposals, we have decided to make each other's comments visible to one another in order to encourage conversation amongst us about the proposals and their merits.