Monday, January 21, 2013

Discussion Questions for Gender/Sexuality/Islam Course - Week 9

From last semester's course, Gender/Sexuality and Islam.
For previous discussion questions for the same class, see Week 2 and Week 3.

The readings for the week were: “Living on the Extreme Margin” by Sharful Islam Khan, et al.; “Boys’ Love Thrives in Conservative Indonesia” by Yamila Abraham; and “Muslim Women and Foreign Prostitutes” by Christine Jacobsen, et al

Choose 2 of the following questions to answer.

4. Comment on the methodology of the study in “Living on the Extreme Margin.” Is it trustworthy completely, or does it have any gaps that may debunk at least some of the conclusions of the study? What is an SEKN model?

5. What is meant by “social exclusion”? Be sure to discuss it in the context of the hijras of Bangladesh, emphasizing the social/cultural, political, and economic ramifications of being a hijra in this specific society.

6. Comment on the conclusions made by the study “Living on the Extreme Margin.” Does anything stand out to you? Do the results seem too generalized, and do they push you to ask why, for instance, it is entirely negative, why all the hijras seem to have the exact same experiences, and, perhaps, why religion is never discussed in the article? Keep in mind that Bangladesh, while being a Muslim majority nation, also has a strong Hindu population in addition to Buddhist and Christian.

Choose 1 of the following questions to answer.

7. The article “Boys’ Love Thrives” discusses the political and religious natures of Indonesia. First, point out where Indonesia is located (mention the continent as well as a couple of neighboring countries). Then, summarize the author’s discussion on the political and religious natures of the country.

8. The author briefly mentions an international bill on women’s rights called the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). What is CEDAW and why does the author mention it? What do you think it means that the United States, while forcing many Muslim countries (such as Afghanistan) to sign and ratify it, refuses to ratify the bill itself?

Choose 3 of the following questions to answer.

9. In “Muslim Women and Foreign Prostitutes,” what is the author’s point in discussing tolerance, and what is the critique of “tolerance” that she cites from other scholars?

10. What do you think is meant by the term “transnational governmentality,” and how is it linked to tolerance?

11. Who is Ayan Hirsi Ali, and how is she important to the article’s discussion on victimhood and the representation of Muslim women in (Western) media? What role does Hirsi Ali play in these representations of Muslim women?

12. How does the author critique A glass of milk, please? How does it clarify the author’s discussion of victimhood?

13. On page 442, we read: “Another side of the depoliticization effect of tolerance discourse … is that the liberal state is perceived to be a neutral arbiter of pre-existing conflict rooted in natural differences, thus obscuring the normative nature of state policies.” What does this mean? In your explanation, try to give one example from your experiences or observations to clarify the point here.

1 comment:

  1. The need to know about Islam is to know, though rarely is it realized and known, the stage of collective consciousness and its implication in individual and collective life. In the simplest words, it means that we need to know what practices our physical bodies need in order to be healthy in circumstances like diseases, sentimental shocks and traumas etc. Moreover the knowledge of Islam gives us a balanced perspective about life in the universe, the correct approach and ideas which could move life further and pave the ways for human progress and collective evolution. The unconscious conviction towards Islam is the Muslim belief that ignoring the truth [about human nature – human instincts and desires - will bring irreversible loss to human kind. A simple example will explain it. If a boat has multiple people with different views but all believe that we need to cross the river safely and they have the necessary tools and machinery to sail the boat then the goal is more likely to be achieved. If however one of the passengers believes that they can only reach the goal if he dig a hole in the boat, and he refuses to listen to others due to his physique or personality or influence then the rest of the passengers have the right to fight and as a last resort prevent him by using power as failing to do so will endanger the lives of all. Such is the case of Muslims who are supposed to resort to using power only as a last resort when the lives of a nation or humanity at large is endangered due to someone who insists on his version without willing to argue about it.


Dare to opine :)

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