Expressions of Islamic Feminisms in Algeria and Saudi Arabia: Towards Intersectional and Feminist-postcolonial Approach

  • Afaf Al-Humaidi

Student thesis: Phd


This research aims to analyse Islamic feminist practices and writings in the contexts of Algeria and Saudi Arabia. To answer the question of how Muslim women practice or write about Islamic feminism in these contexts, the level of analysis moved between the microcosm of women’s writings I chose as case studies to the wider macrocosm of their contexts; these local contexts are also effected by global events such as globalisation, 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’. My contribution to the literature of Islamic feminisms is that they should be considered within an intersectional framework and analysis where religion and religious identification or practices of religiosity are part of many experiences of women’s realities akin to race, gender, sexuality, and class; each effects and is effected by the other. This view helps us escape binary oppositions and categorisations and address the issues of multiple marginalisation or discrimination that women endure in the name of religion. Intersectional Islamic feminisms appreciate the complexity of women’s lives, identities and experiences, and the complexities of their contexts by showing the diversity of women’s voices and world-views that would challenge feminists and nationalists’ master narratives. More importantly, intersectional Islamic feminisms enfold a critical stance that constantly reflects on their own positions to avoid essential categorisations, or marginalisation of other positions. I showcase this theoretical framework of Islamic feminisms through focusing on two cases from Algeria and Saudi Arabia. The constructed Islamic feminisms of my chosen case are also broadened and challenged by bringing other women’s voices into the debate and thus revealing a spectrum of Islamic feminisms that is far from dichotomous and more in dialogue, even if not always direct. It was crucial in these contexts to develop a critical stance whilst simultaneously building on a richer conceptual definition of Islamic feminism's theorization and practices.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAnastasia Valassopoulos (Supervisor) & Zahia Smail Salhi (Supervisor)

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