Sabina Shah Academic Blog Details

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 Sabina’s Academic Blog


ABSTRACT

ISLAMIC FEMINISM AND ITS ROLE IN CINEMA

 

A thesis and a two-minute visual sample submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of MPhil Drama in the Faculty of Humanities

 

Sabina Shah

School of Arts, Histories and Cultures

27.04.2011

 

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in Islamic culture as a fundamentalist and sensationalist phenomenon. Media coverage and western scholarship often views Muslim women as an oppressed mute victim and ‘asserts or implies that Islam itself oppresses women’.[1] In consideration of the present political climate post 9/11, especially in regard to the neo-colonial denigration of the Muslim other, Islamic Feminism and Its Role in Cinema questions whether the oppressed Muslim woman stereotype may be subverted.

 

This project focuses on the recently adopted area of practice-as-research within the humanities and social sciences as a possible means to explore the making of meaning in regards to issues of racial representation.  To embark upon such a research journey, the investigation is led by the following questions: How might Islamic Feminism be described? Could there be an Islamic Feminist cinema practice? How does theory inform the practice and vice-versa? What can be learnt from filmmaking techniques and strategies?

 

For this study, Islamic Feminism is defined as an intellectual and political project with three main trajectories: gender-sensitive interpretations of the Qur’an; recovery and revival of Muslim women’s history; and a critique on representations of the Muslim woman.  Thus, Islamic Feminism forms the conceptual framework that guides the research. In terms of the data, the study includes an analysis of the practice and the use of semiotics; the final outcome being a two-minute animated sequence, based upon the legendary Sultan Razia, who ruled the Empire of Delhi from 634-638 Hejira/1236-1240 C.E. The practice is an attempt to assimilate an Islamic Feminist agenda, in order to illustrate an alternative perspective on the image of the Muslim woman.




[1] Wadud, A. (2000) Alternative Qur’anic Interpretation and the Status of Muslim Women. In G. Webb (Ed.) Windows of Faith – Muslim Women Scholar-Activists in North America, chap. 1, p.6. New York: Syracuse University press.

 

The Sample Piece

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=i3bDJ_17M_4

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