イスラーム・ジェンダー学の構築のための基礎的総合的研究

日本学術振興会科学研究費 基盤研究(A) 
研究代表者:長澤榮治  

About us

 Introduction | Greetings from the Project Leader

Basic Synthetic Research for the Construction of Islam & Gender Studies

Introduction

The Middle East and other geographic areas where Muslims live today are facing various challenges, such as revolutions, civil wars and the issues related to forced migrations. To understand the current situation, a ‘gender perspective’ is indispensable, especially in conducting deeper, discursive analysis. In particular, conducting academic research on culture, politics, and development in relation to the matter of gender justice in Islam is inevitable. This research project aims at building the platform for a new intellectual practice which we call 'Islam & Gender Studies', by integrating individual research on gender in the region that has to date been carried out separately, and promoting a gender perspective in different research fields regarding Islam. Specifically, the project will tackle the following three issues: 1) social dynamics in regards to Islam and gender justice, 2) re-examination of politics with gendered perspectives, 3) gender ‘discourse and practice’ in the field of ‘development’ in a broader sense. As well as enhancing cutting-edge individual research on the subject, the project will set up arenas for comprehensive discussion on gender justice and Islam.

Basic infomation

  • Project Name: Towards the construction of ‘Islam & Gender Studies’: Building foundations for comprehensive discussion on gender justice and Islam
  • Research Fund Designation: Grants-in-aid for Research/Basic Research A
  • Project Leader: Eiji Nagasawa (The University of Tokyo)
  • Research Period: 2016 – 2019 (4 years)
  • Contact: islam_gender◆ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp (please replace ◆ to @)

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Greetings from the Project Leader

Prof.Nagasawa, Project Leader

Regarding Islam & Gender Studies (IG Studies), I would like to share my in-progress and unsophisticated draft ideas about what it exactly is. From my perspective, IG Studies is not a sub-field of Islamic Studies, nor a new field of Gender Studies. Both Islamic Studies and Gender Studies have their own scopes that cover the whole world and they are, by nature, inclined to explain the world by their own objectives and with their own tools. Because both of those fields have scopes that are so wide and comprehensive, I would understand if anyone thinks IG Studies should be a sub-field of them. Nonetheless, I see a potential for IG Studies to develop its own scope, approach, and objective even though it undeniably shares interests with Islamic Studies as well as Gender Studies.

IG Studies also hold a strong relationship with Area Studies. In fact, many of the members of the project, within their own academic disciplines, still call themselves the Middle Eastern Studies scholars or Islamic Area Studies scholars. In this sense, IG studies owes a lot to Area Studies. However, unlike with Area Studies, discussing and examining Islamic region or the Middle Eastern region are not the main aims of IG Studies. Gender issues are, of course, inevitable to all Humanities or Social Science studies including Area Studies, in today’s academic world. Islam may have not yet reached to that same status. However, Islam is no longer an issue that maintains its significance only in Muslim majority regions such as the Middle East. In many parts of the world, Islam started to gain its own significance. Precisely because of this nature, IG Studies get to cover all the regions of the world and the inter-relations among multiple regions. The focuses of IG Studies are not limited to any particular regions, since neither are gender issues.

As for myself, as an Area Studies scholar specialized in the Middle East, I have been conducting research in the region, mostly in Egypt, for nearly four decades. In doing so, I kept encountering Islam in numerous occasions. Islam has always been an important aspect of my studies. Nevertheless, honestly speaking, due to the limit of my academic discipline (Social and Economic History) and my personal intellectual capacity, I have never gotten deep into the House of Islam (Dar al-Islam) by myself. Instead, I stopped myself at briefly touching ‘the House’, and I left the task to my outstanding colleagues. At the same time, as an Area Studies scholar, I must respond to some gender issues in the region as well. Neither ‘Citadel of Gender’ nor the House of Islam was easy to access. Yet, I have done my best with my terrible recklessness, fortunately an essential ability to make great Area Studies scholars, and ended up publishing some unsophisticated papers on gender in the Middle East.

So if IG Studies is not a sub-field of Islamic Studies, Gender Studies, or Area Studies, what exactly is it? As a response to the question, I would like to call an attention to the ampersand (&) between Islam and Gender in 'Islam & Gender Studies'. We use the ampersand but not a hyphen or slash. In other words, IG Studies is not meant to combine or integrate already existing Islamic Studies to Gender Studies or vice versa. IG Studies is not meant to reorganizing area specific case studies according to Islam or Gender, either.

The ampersand creates a space between Islam and Gender that invites something new to play its role. Take the nation-state as a simple example. By placing the nation-state in the middle, we can think of specific research topics such as the issues related to state feminism and its Islamic implications, or the state-enforced family model and its effect on Islam, and so on. By inserting nation-state in the middle, we can question the modern nation-state from the perspectives of Islam and gender. As such, we are hopeful that this third factor will open a gate to a new academic scape.

It is important to note that the objective of IG Studies is not to please academia. The core of IG Studies is derived from the passionate interest on today’s ongoing social issues. We must not undermine the possibility of IG Studies by making it into a mere project of the expert, by the expert, for the expert. We need to constantly be reminding oneself that we are individual citizens living in today’s world before being intellectuals.

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