Anita Weiss

Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women's Rights in Pakistan

Palgrave Macmillan 2015

New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in South Asian Studies January 26, 2016 SherAli Tareen

Pakistan is often caricatured and stereotyped as a volatile nuclear country on the precipice of disaster. Such depictions are often especially acerbic when comes...

Pakistan is often caricatured and stereotyped as a volatile nuclear country on the precipice of disaster. Such depictions are often especially acerbic when comes to the issue of Women’s rights in the country. In her important new book, Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women’s Rights in Pakistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Anita Weiss, Professor of International Studies at the University of Oregon, provides a much-needed corrective to such sensationalist stereotypes. By exploring how multiple state and non-state actors have engaged the question of gender and women’s rights over time and space, Weiss demonstrates ways in which a diversity of voices in Pakistan conduct what she calls “everyday Ijtihad,” thus offering a much more nuanced and informed perspective. In our conversation, we talked about a range of issues such as the history of the Pakistani state’s approach towards defining and engaging women’s rights, the role of Progressive NGOs like the Aurat Foundation, Orthodox Islamist voices on this question, and the Tehrik-i Taliban in Swat. This lucidly written book contains a plethora of useful information and analysis for specialists and non-specialists alike.

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