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Islam and Feminism

Islam and feminism seem contradictory, especially referring to the current public discourse. But analyzing the pairing of these two terms is a complex and exciting endeavour. Is there an "Islamic feminism"? Can contemporary Muslims be feminists? Questions like these with a focus on Germany and the United States will lead to an interdisciplinary and methodologically varied approach to religious and cultural norms as well as the current debates. Let's develop a nuanced picture of the ways in which gender is related to Islam and Muslims.

Course periodJuly 2, 2018 - July 13, 2018 Session I
Category Religion, Ethics & Law
Course levelsMaster
Class size

max. 15 participants in class

Credits and certificate

You will receive a final grade certificate and 5 ECTS credit points as well as six weeks after the end of the course a transcript of records only in the event of regular attendance (must be present 80% of the time) and active class participation.

Application deadline June 1, 2018, or when participant quota is reached Registration will open soon
Early bird discount50.00 Euro until Feb. 15, 2018
Alumni discount50.00 Euro
Course fee640.00 Euro


Is there such a thing as “Islamic feminism”? Can contemporary Muslims be feminists? Can feminist theorists and practitioners develop an analysis and critique of patriarchy that takes religious framework, histories and concepts seriously? What is the relationship between gender norms in Islam and feminist critique of them?

This seminar course explores these questions and pursues possible answers through a study of both discourses and practices related to Islam and feminism in the past decade. We will focus on Germany and the United States as two case studies with very different and yet deeply connected histories of colonialism, Muslim demographic presence and debates about Islam in the public sphere.

Syllabus will be available soon
Course structure

Academic lessons

  • You will receive a total of 40 hours (one lesson equals 45 minutes).
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions.


Schedule (Track D)

Week 1:
Mon 10.30 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 3 pm
Tue 10.30 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 2 pm
Thu+Fri 10.30 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 3 pm
Week 2:
Tue 10.30 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 2 pm
Wed - Fri 10.30 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 3 pm


Cultural extra-curricular activities:

HUWISU offers a fine selection of interesting extra-curricular activities and aims to give all participants an unforgettable stay in Berlin. Your program includes excursions, sport activities and social gatherings providing you the opportunity to get to know the city, the university and your classmates better and to meet students from all parts of the world. The costs for these offers are included in the course fees.

Activities and tours we offer regularly: Federal Chancellery, German Parliament, House of Representatives, Topography of Terror, Political Archive, Museum Island, Kreuzberg Tour, Daytrip to Potsdam, Boat trip, Beach Volleyball, Exhibitions, Farewell Party…

Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Master students and advanced undergraduate students (final year) of all subjects with an academic background and a strong interest in Islamic studies, gender studies, urban anthropology and sociology.

In order to follow the course, a very good command of English is required. The minimum age requirement is 18 years.

Prof. Dr. Juliane Hammer

Trained in the study of Islam, languages, and pre-modern as well as modern Muslim societies, Juliane Hammer’s scholarly trajectory has taken her from research on Palestinian women and diaspora and return experiences through a decade of work on American Muslim communities intersecting with women, gender and sexuality in contemporary Muslim contexts. She sees herself in both Islamic studies and American religions, and in conversation with women’s and gender studies, sexuality studies and critical race theory. She has combined ethnographic and textual analysis methods in diverse research contexts and engages in interdisciplinary, multi-method research that does not privilege texts over lived experiences or vice versa.

After completing her most recent book, American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More than a Prayer (University of Texas Press, 2012) on debates about woman-led prayer, which includes discussions of women’s Qur’an interpretation, women’s rights as human rights, and media representations of American Muslim women, Dr. Hammer has turned to two related research projects: the first on American Muslim efforts against domestic violence which traces religiously framed efforts in Muslim communities to raise awareness of DV and provide services. Based on ethnographic components and textual analysis the resulting monograph (in progress) discusses how DV advocacy work is embedded in broader discourses on gender roles, marriage ideals, and processes in American society as well as transnational Muslim communities. The second book project approaches discourses and practices regarding marriage and family in Muslim communities in the United States at the intersection of marriage ideals, religious discourses and interpretations, and the ways in which Muslim practices as well as ideas are simultaneously framed by American marriage debates and Muslim reevaluations and reinterpretations of religious tradition and normativity.

Juliane Hammer is also the author of Palestinians Born in Exile: Diaspora and the Search for a Homeland (University of Texas Press, 2005), and the co-editor of A Jihad for Justice: Honoring the Work and Life of Amina Wadud (with Kecial Ali and Laury Silvers, 2012) as well as the Cambridge Companion to American Islam (with Omid Safi, 2013). She has also written over twenty journal articles and book chapters.

Through additional research and teaching she also explores the role of food in religious practice, especially in Sufism, and issues of methodology, positionality and normativity in the study of Islam both as part of a disciplinary genealogy and in their connection to the politics of knowledge production. On both the undergraduate and graduate levels, her teaching focuses on women, gender, and sexuality in Islam on the one hand and various aspects of American Islam on the other.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer | pierre.steuer@hu-berlin.de
Contact detailsInternational Office
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin