Race, Culture, and Identity
Editorial New Perspectives on Gender in Shari’a-Based Family Law Studies: Moving Beyond the Women’s Issue
This Special Issue is the result of a conference on Islamic Family Law that we organized in the Netherlands in 2013, entitled: Islamic Family Law in Modern Europe and the Muslim World – Legal and Empirical Approaches beyond the Women’s Rights Issue. Most of the contributions in this volume were presented at this conference. But above all, this theme issue is the result of our discussions as colleagues with different academic backgrounds (anthropology, sociology of law, and law) and different links to the field of Islamic family law: as an insider (Sonneveld), newcomer (Sportel), and outsider (De Hart). Our discussions, questions, amazement, and at times concerns about the traditions, aims and future of Islamic family law studies revolved around recurring questions that we aim to address in this Special Issue. We believe that the field of Islamic family law could profit from similar dialogues across disciplines, especially sociology of law, gender studies, and critical legal studies. The issues we address in this introduction are inspired by insights from these disciplines and made us wonder about assumptions and understandings underpinning the study of Islamic family law, most importantly: the stereotyping of Muslim men, the concept of gender, and the concept of law.
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