Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology, delivered by Professor Lila Abu-Lughod, on 17 November 2009.
Travelling between transnational initiatives for Muslim women’s rights and the everyday lives of some village women in Egypt, this lecture will argue that anthropologists and ethnographers can bring significant critical insights to bear on the wide-ranging current global discourse on rights – human, women’s, indigenous, etc. It will explore the ways in which this discourse supports and gives life to moral claims, social networks and institutions, variegated practices, international funding agencies, and various forms of expertise.
About the speaker
Lila Abu-Lughod is the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University in New York. She is the author of three ethnographies based on fieldwork in Egypt: Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society; Writing Women’s Worlds: Bedouin Stories; and Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. She is the editor or co-editor of: Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East; Media Worlds; and Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory. The book project that is currently engaging her, as a Carnegie Scholar, is on the politics and ethics of the international circulation of discourses on Muslim women’s rights.
Professor Abu-Lughod writes on the interpretations placed on Muslim women's dress: ‘The Muslim woman The power of images and the danger of pity’ (Eurozine, 1 September 2006)
This lecture was published as ‘Anthropology in the Territory of Rights, Islamic, Human, and Otherwise...’ (Proceedings of the British Academy, 167).