Gender Jihad

Nov 18th, 2011, in Featured, News, by

An intelligent young woman on the discourse and interplays of how things are constituted and gendered.

Tutin Aryanti, probably from Bandung and a graduate student of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who your scribe apologises to in advance for picking on, is currently writing a thesis on the weighty topic of Gender, Space, and Power in Contemporary Mosque Architecture in Java, Indonesia, under the supervision of an academic somewhat worryingly named D. Fairchild Ruggles.

From her blog we find out that Tutin specialises in

exploring [the] interplay between architecture and gendered practices, with the goal being to better establish the linkage between architecture, behavior, and ideology

In English this means she studies how Indonesian mosques provide separate areas for men and women to attend; sometimes she regards this as an example of patriarchal oppression, other times as empowering. It depends.

On her university “status updates” page, an academic version of Twitter, we get to find out what she is getting up to and what is occupying her mind these days:

‘Experiencing’ severe gender discrimination on the writing of Islamic architectural history. Very limited photos and archives and documentations of women’s prayer spaces. They’re there, but ‘HIS’tory overlooks them!

the sexual border is abstract, constituted through social consensus and taught through generations through exemplary practices that have served as gender ideology ‘apparatuses’

But buried in all that parroting of minimal or no thought required jargon there is still a real person there:

is dealing with a huge pile of data

but back to regular programming:

takes a break to write an abstract on the “danger of women’s body” and how it affects their access to houses of worship.

is (still) writing a piece on Aisyiyah organization and its strategies for dealing with the patriarchal public space.

On breaking the border: entering a male mosque at the palace area today.

Tutin is the proud holder of a 2011-12 International Fellowship Award from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and is an Islamic feminist, whose motivation is

gender jihad ….. to establish gender justice in Muslim thought and praxis. At the simplest level, gender justice is gender mainstreaming – the inclusion of women in all aspects of Muslim practice, performance, policy construction, and in both political and religious leadership

Although interestingly in her private life she has still chosen the traditional Indonesian path of marriage and motherhood, and is fortunate to have a very supportive family, suggesting there is still hope for the country.

10 Comments on “Gender Jihad”

  1. berlian biru says:

    You want to know why the western world, led by the United States, is swirling around the toilet bowl before descending down the sewer pipe of historical oblivion? This stuff is why.

    In universities in India, Japan, China, Korea etc they’re teaching about engineering, physics, chemistry, medicine, software designing, look at what a prominent university in the US at huge expense is teaching an intelligent young woman from Indonesia;

    ‘Experiencing’ severe gender discrimination

    exploring [the] interplay between architecture and gendered practices

    ‘HIS’tory overlooks them!

    gender jihad ….. to establish gender justice in Muslim thought and praxis. At the simplest level, gender justice is gender mainstreaming – the inclusion of women in all aspects of Muslim practice, performance, policy construction, and in both political and religious leadership

    Blah, blah fcking blah, trust me the west is finished.

    This is the sort of gobbledegook that the soap dodgers of the “Occupy” movement feel should be subsidised by hard working taxpayers so that gormless twerps can enjoy the university life into their thirties before taking some non-productive job with a “non-profit” or NGO and sponging off the workers till they retire on an index-linked pension.

    The future’s bright, the future’s Asian.

  2. abdul naseer says:

    people just like to be upset the woman is upset about gender stuff and the commentors are upset about her.

    follow the quran and sunnah. finished. sudah!!!

  3. Emma says:

    Good luck Tutin, but please lose the tiresome academic jargon. Use clear English and don’t parrot the buzzwords that have done nothing but decrease readership–and forced most thinking people away from academic literature. Be accessible.

  4. Oigal says:

    Which Sunnah? Shia? the other mob? What about the other sects of Islam? Who’s understanding of the Koran are we going to with? Saudis? Malaysia perhaps ( but they cannot even get the banking right so maybe not..). Lets run with Aceh they are good a whipping little girls and the poor whilst the connected continue to plunder. Yea ok maybe not them..hmmmm Sudah????? Aku pikir Belum!

  5. bonni says:

    LOL BB!!

    I guess abdul naseer is right!! And now let’s do the shalawat for gender justice!!! 😀

  6. Nordin says:

    The cowboy can kill the Indians,that is the law of the day.but in Islam all being to be treat same.Read Quraan Al’Mulk you will understand justic.

  7. Oigal says:

    Really Nordin, perhaps you can explain the treatment of Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabia then or the treatment of Africian Muslims in the Sudan..mmm..closer to home what was that sect called starts with A? Oh how about Iraq would you prefer to be Sunni or Shia? ..Sorry you were saying?….

    Perhaps a little less reading and little more notice of what is happening in the real world..
    As for the cowboys… Where would you rather be a Muslim in cowboy land or China or did you not get told about that as well?

  8. fabian says:

    Feminist academical mumbo jumbo and all that “politically correct” way of speaking…that sometimes begins to look like a kind of censorship…

    Wast of tax payers money

    It would be better if she studied architecture and designed a mosque with confortable areas for women

  9. bojog says:

    If you were my daughter I’d advice you go back to University of Illinois, get an adjunct position and use it as you pulpit to get your points across and slowly coerce change. On the other hand you can remain in a society where free speech and gender equality doesn’t exist and become a martyr. But your not my daughter, so just follow your heart.

    This is at once a politically and theologically sensitive subject you’ve broached upon. I would remind your critics and as Oigal alluded to, it is incorrect to speak of ‘Islam tradition’ as if it were a single, monolithic voice. It is as fragmented as are the nations of Islam. We can only speak of Shi’ite or Sunni tradition and its numerous tribal and national variations. Even the critics who insist there is a clear ‘Islam tradition’, then you must admit there is at the very least a clash between its modernist and traditional interpretation. The modernists would argue that the spirit of the Qur’an would be more in sync with modernity’s insistence on rational, intellectually supported change than the dogmatic Shari’a formulations that are upheld sacrosanct by virtue of their ‘divine’ origin, a position which the Sunnah of the Prophet would deem as ‘superstitious’ and ‘irrational’.

    There is an expression among Islamic scholars:
    ????? ?? ???????? ? ????? ????
    Two Moslems, 3 opinions.

    Insha’Allah and Go Girl!

  10. SoapDodger says:

    With austerity and the rhetoric of liberal rationalism becoming a ever-growing part of their national dialogues, more and more pressure is put on Western Universities to become competitive commercial assembly lines for technicians and engineers.

    There’s always room for art in life, and political engagement in the liberal arts shouldn’t be dismissed as the meaningless squawking of hippies, by other opinionated people who are just as sure of their own ‘special way’.

    If the western world must lose the academic freedom to make mistakes and explore seemingly throwaway areas of research, then, and only then will we be doomed, because we’ll have consigned ourselves to a very grey existence.

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