Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discussion Questions for Week 12 - Sorry for the Delay!

4/14 Week 12: Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Beyond: Teaching from Intersectional, International, & Transnational Approaches

Feminism, Democracy, and Empire: Islam and the War on Terror
by Saba Mahmood

Discussion Question:
Saba Mahmood begins by asserting that Western feminism played a historical role in validating and promoting colonial rule throughout the world. She goes on to argue that this same discourse is being redeployed in contemporary feminist writings, its purpose being “justifying the United States’ war of terror upon the Muslin World” (pg. 81), the justification being that the U.S. is “liberating” women from their repressive cultures. She goes on to ask several questions. First, how are the ideas of “freedom, democracy, and gender equity,” which are goals promoted by most Western feminists, used to promote the U.S. imperialist agenda? Second, how does this layering of ideologies works to obscure said agenda? Third, what forms of violence does it condone?
Pedagogical Practice:

Watch YouTube Clip:

Bill Maher - Burqa Fashion Show (1-4:02)

Take a few moments to journal on the following: What are the consequences of Western feminists’ views of the veil as oppressive to women, and their subsequent analysis, that any women who advocates them is operating out of a false consciousness? How might video clips, like the one included in this exercise, develop a space for dialogue about the practice of veiling in the Middle East among students? How might using video clips be effective in a different way than simply reading about these concepts?

Let's share our responses with one another.

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