Scholar of Islam to address polygamy and human rights

Permutations of plural marriage explored in context of gender justice

Professor Abdullahi An-Na’im

An internationally recognized scholar of Islam and human rights will speak on polygamy and gender justice in the 21st century in the keynote lecture of a conference on "Polygamy, Polygamy, and Polyamory: Ethical and Legal Perspectives on Plural Marriage" that is being sponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

Abdullahi An-Na’im, director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at Emory University School of Law, will deliver the keynote – the third in the Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture Series on Gender and Human Rights – at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library.

The talk, hosted by the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion, and the Law, will examine how polygamy compares to monogamy in social and personal terms and will discuss the implications for the theory and practice of human rights.

“The practice of plural marriage raises challenging issues for law and social policy”, says Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, director of the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion, and the Law.  “Does respect for freedom of religion require the recognition of plural marriages, or are there principled reasons why a state concerned with the human rights of women should be reluctant to grant this?  What should we make of the representations of plural marriage presented in news accounts, legal cases, popular fiction and television?"

An-Na’im is the author of "Islam and the Secular State," "African Constitutionalist and the Role of Islam" and "Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law."

The conference continues Monday, Nov. 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Panels include “Is Polygamy Bad for Women?”, “Polygamy and Freedom” and “Polygamy in Israel: Jewish and Palestinian Perspectives.” There will also be a reading and book signing of the new memoir, "Blood Stains: A Child of Africa Reclaims Her Human Rights," by Khady Koita.

RSVPs to the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute are strongly encouraged; please email with the names and number of guests.

The Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture Series was created by Gender, Culture, Religion and Law Project Founder Sylvia Neil and her husband, Dan Fischel, to honor the memory of Neil’s late sister, Diane, for her commitment to gender equality and social justice.

The lecture and conference are funded by a gift from the Dan Fischel and Sylvia Neil Philanthropic Fund.  Cosponsors include the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the West African Research Association.

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute develops fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research and artistic projects.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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