Lazreg: Gendered Pathways to Culturalism and Cosmopolitanism on the Islamic Periphery

FEB 16, 2017 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




February 16, 2017: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM




Advanced Research Collaborative


ARC Seminar: Marnia Lazreg: Gendered Pathways to Culturalism and Cosmopolitanism on the Islamic Periphery

Since 2011 events in the Middle East have left social theorists wondering how to study the apparent antinomy between the rise of Islam in politics and aspirations to participatory democracy. I will focus on the history of Islamic reformist thought from its defensive posture before colonialism to its evolution in the global era towards forms of cosmopolitanism questioning national and cultural identity while asserting a Muslim ethos. I analyze modalities of this evolution as well as the reactions is has triggered among Islamic scholars, Islamists, and lay scholars in Algeria, Egypt and Iran. Is this trend best studied as ushering in a new modernity or does it require a rethinking of the premises of sociological theory?

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and Hunter College of the City University of New York.  She is the recipient of a number of fellowships at the Bunting Institute (Harvard University); the Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women (Brown University); the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy);  and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She carried out research and published in the areas of human rights, social class, cultural and decolonization movements, social development, and gender in the Middle East and North Africa.   She is particularly interested in the transformations of meanings incurred by social theory when it travels to non-Western cultural milieux.  Her work has been translated into a number of foreign languages, including Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish.   She lectures extensively in the United States and around the world, and has been a contributor to radio programs. Her books include, Torture and the Twilight of Empire:  From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, 2008) and Questioning the Veil:  Open Letters to Muslim Women (Princeton, 2010). She has just completed a book length manuscript on Foucault’s Orient:  The Conundrum of Culture.