Ayesha S. Chaudhry

Current affiliation:
Associate Professor, Gender and Islamic Studies, University of British Columbia

Engaging the academic, policy, and public spheres, Professor Ayesha Chaudhry (gender and Islamic studies, University of British Columbia) sparks a conversation on Islamic legal reform through a Feminist Sharia.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation fellowship project: Feminist Sharia

Project objectives: This project develops narratives for a gender-equal Islamic law, by rethinking the historically patriarchal Islamic legal tradition, paying special attention to narratives surrounding ‘Ā’isha, Muhammad’s youngest wife; this will be done through the following initiatives:

  1. Hosting international workshops to explore existing narratives of ‘Ā’isha, as related to six legal debates, and to imagine narratives that can support gender equal laws in each of these six areas;
  2. Publishing academic articles and a monograph;
  3. Engaging in policy conversations with NGO’s, government and inter-governmetal organizations;
  4. Contributing to public conversations through op-eds and articles in national publications.

Read the full project. 

Ayesha S. Chaudhry is the Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice. She is Associate Professor of Islamic studies and Gender studies at the University of British Columbia, where she sits on the Board of Governors in an elected seat. She was a 2016-17 Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the UBC and she was the 2015-16 Rita E. Hauser fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

She is the author of Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law, and the Muslim Discourse on Gender (Oxford University Press, 2014). Dr. Chaudhry’s research focuses on Islamic legal and theological reform, with eye towards promoting human rights by focusing on women’s rights.

Dr. Chaudhry is deeply committed to bridging the academic and civil society divide. In service of this commitment, she is actively engaged in civic discourse around religion. She has consulted on high-level national and international cases concerning human rights and religious pluralism and freedom. She works with NGO and international development organizations to improve women’s rights and promote pluralism, and regularly contributes opinion pieces to provincial and national newspapers.

She is currently working on two major projects, one entitled “Feminist Shari’a” and the other “The Colour of God”.

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