Researcher speaks on challenges to secular feminist activism in Pakistan
Afiya S. Zia, a feminist researcher and activist based in Karachi, Pakistan, speaks on "Challenges to Secular Feminist Activism: The 'War on Terror' and Islamic Politics in Pakistan" on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 5-7 p.m. in the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union.
Zia will trace the backlash against the liberal and secular women's movement as betrayers of the Muslim (male) cause. She will also discuss the misguided prescription of academic and developmental projects that advocate the instrumentalization of Islam as an appropriate and "authentic" approach in Muslim contexts. Her concern is to recover the nascent working class secular movements that are being rendered invisible in the competing discourses of Islam, imperialism and nationalism.
She is an active member of Women’s Action Forum, a secular women’s rights organization in Pakistan and is an advisory board member of the Centre for Secular Space in the U.K. She has published in scholarly journals and recently written in the Guardian on the topic of her lecture. Presently she is working on a book titled "Faith and Feminism."
The event is sponsored by the South Asia Students Association, women and gender studies at Amherst College and the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, Mount Holyoke College.