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Informal sovereignties and multiple Muslim feminisms: Feminist geo-legality in Sri Lanka


Schenk, Christine G; Hasbullah, Shalul (2022). Informal sovereignties and multiple Muslim feminisms: Feminist geo-legality in Sri Lanka. Political Geography, 94:102527.

Abstract

This paper argues that Muslim feminisms emerge as spatially differentiated strategies and tactics to accommodate local varieties of Muslim “informal sovereignties”. These informal sovereignties are exercised by Muslim judges, scholars and lawyers regulating Muslim marriages and divorces, based on diverse readings of the Muslim Personal Law and situated in the context of different forms of violence, such as Islamophobia and ethno-religious communalism. Comparing two districts in Sri Lanka - Puttalam and Batticaloa - the paper shows how Muslim feminist activists navigate spatially diverse forms of informal sovereignties exercised by Muslim movements and institutions, in response to locally specific political, social and economic challenges that Muslims face in the aftermath of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war. The struggles over implementing and reforming the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), the Muslim Personal Law in Sri Lanka, focus on Muslim women's bodies and spaces as main sites of politics. The paper thereby contributes to debates in feminist geo-legality and Muslim femininity by pointing to the need to understand the contextuality of Muslim Personal Law within Sri Lanka's varieties of lived Islam.

Abstract

This paper argues that Muslim feminisms emerge as spatially differentiated strategies and tactics to accommodate local varieties of Muslim “informal sovereignties”. These informal sovereignties are exercised by Muslim judges, scholars and lawyers regulating Muslim marriages and divorces, based on diverse readings of the Muslim Personal Law and situated in the context of different forms of violence, such as Islamophobia and ethno-religious communalism. Comparing two districts in Sri Lanka - Puttalam and Batticaloa - the paper shows how Muslim feminist activists navigate spatially diverse forms of informal sovereignties exercised by Muslim movements and institutions, in response to locally specific political, social and economic challenges that Muslims face in the aftermath of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war. The struggles over implementing and reforming the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), the Muslim Personal Law in Sri Lanka, focus on Muslim women's bodies and spaces as main sites of politics. The paper thereby contributes to debates in feminist geo-legality and Muslim femininity by pointing to the need to understand the contextuality of Muslim Personal Law within Sri Lanka's varieties of lived Islam.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Social Sciences & Humanities > History
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Feminist legal geographies Intersectionality Gender Violence Islam Sri Lanka
Language:English
Date:1 April 2022
Deposited On:20 Jan 2022 15:17
Last Modified:27 Mar 2024 03:07
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0962-6298
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102527
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2GEP1_165427
  • : Project TitleIslamic leaders, secular-religious territory, and citizenship in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)