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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Upcoming lecture focuses on gender justice, feminist mediation, Islamic reformation in Malaysia

Women forced to "reposition" themselves in society

April 14, 2010, by Rob Enslin

Azza Basarudin, a future of minority studies (FMS) postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies (WGS) at Syracuse University, is giving a free lecture titled “Gender Justice, Feminist Mediation and Islamic Reformation in Malaysia.” The event, which is open to the public, is on Wednesday, April 14, at 4 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons of the E.S. Bird Library.

The lecture is co-sponsored by WGS, housed in The College of Arts and Sciences, and the FMS Research Project, a scholarly consortium devoted to minority identity, education and social transformation, and made possible by a generous grant from SU’s Office of the Chancellor. More information about FMS is available at

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, professor and chair of WGS, says Basarudin’s lecture builds on Ph.D. work begun at the University of California, Los Angeles, and continued at SU. “Her talk will focus on how Muslim intellectual activists in Malaysia are struggling to reclaim Islam from authoritarian configurations,” Mohanty says. “These activists draw on values of justice, freedom and personal rights to disrupt the balance of historical authority. As a result, Malaysian women are being forced to reposition themselves in context of religion, history and cultural traditions.” This disruption, she adds, impacts women’s rights and gender power relations.

In 2009, Basarudin received a Ph.D. from UCLA, where she explored various strategies by nongovernmental organizations in Southeast Asia and Egypt to reposition women in their respective communities. Her work also encompasses postcolonial and feminist theory, indigenous feminisms, nationalism and exile, sexuality, and human rights in Islam. “Azza’s scholarship underscores the interdisciplinarity and intersectionality of Women’s & Gender Studies,” says Mohanty. “She is reshaping local and transnational discourses of gender and Islam through hermeneutic and memory work in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.”

WGS is committed to multiracial, transnational education, with a curriculum rooted in key issues of justice, social and economic transformation, and women’s agency. For more information, visit