Login | Register

Notions of Female Authority in Modern Shi’i Thought


Notions of Female Authority in Modern Shi’i Thought

Tajali, Mona (2011) Notions of Female Authority in Modern Shi’i Thought. Religions, 2 (3). pp. 449-468. ISSN 2077-1444

[thumbnail of religions-02-00449.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
religions-02-00449.pdf - Published Version

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rel2030449


The dominant Shi’i gender discourse has undergone major shifts in recent years, resulting in revisions of various jurisprudential rulings on women’s rights and status. Among such shifts, there have been rulings on female authority, particularly women’s right to access political decision-making positions. Despite being a controversial topic that has historically faced much clerical debate and disagreement, in recent years a number of reformist clerics have argued in favor of women’s leadership, which is considered a radical departure from the conventional stance. While there are a number of reasons that have contributed to these modernist clerical views in recent years, I argue that the most significant is women’s demands and mobilization for reform of misogynist Shari‘a-based laws. Through reference to clerical gender discourses unfolding in Iran, a Shi’i state, this work will shed light onto the modernist clerical discourses that resulted from women’s strategic and organized pressuring for enhanced women’s political representation. In this regard, this work will examine the interactions between women’s groups and religious elites, in particular pious women’s efforts to publicize and politicize the issue of female authority and women’s access to leadership positions within the Iranian society, as well as the various types of justifications offered by Shi’i clerics for enhancing women’s political rights. By analyzing the recent clerical reformist discourses, this article identifies two dominant types of justifications used by such clerics in explaining the shift from the conventional stand on the subject of female authority, which are categorized as a contextual rereading and a feminist rereading. This analysis will conclude by evaluating the impact of these different types of clerical responses on the future prospects of reform in the society, especially democratization of religious interpretation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Article
Authors:Tajali, Mona
Journal or Publication:Religions
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.3390/rel2030449
Keywords:female authority; Iran; political representation; religious reform; Shi'i Islam; women and politics; women's movements
ID Code:35926
Deposited By: MONA TAJALI
Deposited On:30 Sep 2011 15:23
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:35
Related URLs:
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top