Women in the Islamic World Transcript

I'd like to talk a little bit about how certain topics that I include in the syllabus in the in the Women in World History syllabus or Women and Gender in World History syllabus . . . how I teach them and how one can teach them to provide a little bit of depth to say: Well, here's a syllabus that i'd advise you should just go look at it and and you're kind of on your own. But the syllabus starts with a unit, the first unit that's presented in the syllabus is about women in the Islamic empire or women in the Islamic world really. And it's done by two scholars who are historians of women in Islam and Islam. It's a topic that if you're going to be teaching world history you're going to be talking about the rise in the spread of Islam, it's an important topic in women's world history and women general history. It's an important topic anyway in world history so this is a unit that you could use, as I do in the syllabus, to teach about women in Islam but it's also a unit that you could use to just teach about Islam. Again oftentimes you'd be teaching with a textbook or with something that might kind of cover things quite broadly or you could provide in your class you could provide a general introduction on Islam but then because the issues of gender and Islam are so much in the forefront today because there's so much misunderstanding about this just focus in for your the kind of original sources you're going to be using to focus in on things that have to do with women is not really diverting. It's not really saying, oh it's kind of going off in some other direction. You really get at the heart of the kind of sources that are important for talking about Islam at all so in the unit on women in the Islamic world from 600 to 1600. There are the kind of sources that are important for your students to understand about if they're going to understand anything about Islam so there are sections from the Qur'an, a couple of them the the surah on women. Kind of the major things that that so students can say read here's what the Qur'an says about women in several different places. There's selections from the hadith those kind of accounts of what was other things that Muhammad said - that that the Prophet Muhammad said, they're not in the Qur'an so another central source in understanding about Islam. There are also poems by a woman who is a Sufi poet so one of those mystical or early poets of Islam, Rabia, very short poems that your students can read then so that you can introduce through these just these two poems something about sufism that this mystical spread, thread rather, that that goes from islam from the 8th century on. So there's another important thing just again whether you're teaching about women Islam or you're teaching about Islam in general to have students understand something about Sufism is very important. And also then you know included in part of this is visual sources and the visual sources that are there are three one of them is a madrassa. One of them is a two men, one of them is a bathroom from public beds that were all paid for and patronized and endowed by women, by royal women, who had quite a bit of money. So these are important kinds of buildings within Islam schools. And baths and mosques that were paid for by women. It goes against students stereotypes about what women could do. They sort of understand, oh Muslims are all shut away in harems or so much like that they're not certainly not out there sponsoring buildings sponsoring big public buildings. It goes against their understandings about the kind of economic agency that women had in Islam. And they're also really interesting buildings in and of themselves. So you can think about how did Islam shape the built environment what story buildings are important again so that with a focus, the focus here all of the sources happen to be about women. But through this your students if you're using this for a general world history class through this your students will get introduced to the Qur'an, the hadith, Sufism, and Sufi poets. And the the built environment - so mosques and schools. And in a relatively short they're all quite short they all have annotations by the people that put together this particular teaching module and then they could be useful then in a wide variety of ways