"Who Speaks for the Qur'an? Exploring the Line Between Exegesis and Eisegesis" with Ayesha Chaudhry

AVACGIS Spring 2015 Lecture Series

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM
Johnson Center, Meeting Room C, 3rd Floor

NOTE: The start time for this lecture has changed to 4:30pm

Religious texts mean what their communities say they mean. Texts do not have a voice of their own. They speak only through their community of readers. So, with a community so large (1.3 billion) and so old (1,400 years), Islamic religious texts necessarily speak with many voices to reflect the varied histories and experiences of the many communities that call themselves Muslim. In this talk, Dr. Chaudhry will explore the ways in which modern Muslims interpret a controversial verse in the Qur’an (Q. 4:34), also known as the “wife-beating” verse.

Dr. Ayesha S. Chaudhry is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Gender Studies in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Ph.D. at New York University in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Her research interests include Islamic law, Qur'anic exegesis, and feminist hermeneutics. She is the author of Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law and the Muslim Discourse on Gender (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). This book explores the relationship of modern Muslims to the inherited Islamic tradition through a study of legal and exegetical discussions of wife-beating in the pre- and post-colonial periods. Currently, she is collaboratively working on a book project on inter-faith feminist hermeneutics, which explores and challenges the limits of feminist interpretations of patriarchal religious texts in the three Abrahamic faiths, called Difficult Texts or Difficult Women?: The Challenge of Scripture to Feminist Readings. She is an Early Career Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and is the recipient of the Research Mentorship award for an interdisciplinary project entitled, “Living Islam Between Text and Practice: A Case Study of Domestic Violence”. She is also developing methods of bridging the academic and community divide by translating her research interests into artistic expression that might appeal to a wider audience. She is working on a project that explores the meanings of multiple intersecting political discourses surrounding religious women’s sartorial choices. This project is entitled “Cover Story”.

Sponsored by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies and the Department of Religious Studies.