Academy of Lifelong Learning

Women in the Muslim World - Session 1

Susan Kenyon

Wednesdays, February 3 – March 2 (five weeks)
4:15 – 5:30 pm
*This course is limited to 30 participants.
Stereotypes abound about Muslim women, who are frequently described as oppressed – by the men in their lives, by their political systems, by limited opportunities to lead full lives, and, above all, by their religion. This is only exacerbated by the wave of Islamophobia sweeping the West, fueled by recent events in the Middle East and the escalating number of refugees flooding into Europe. In this short course we try to understand how such stereotypes arise and perhaps to reconsider current attitudes. We consider briefly the basic tenets of Islam; its early history and schisms within what was then a revolutionary movement, and how women have been treated historically under Islam. We then look in more detail at the lives of some contemporary Muslim women from different parts of the world. Particular attention is given to the peripheries, to North Africa and to the Far East, where significant contrasts are offered in both the way Islam is practiced on a daily basis and where women lead very different lives.