Dr. Jerusha Rhodes spoke to a rapt audience on April 25, 2019, about the complex relationship between Islam and feminism for an endowed lecture given every two years in honor of former Hartford Seminary dean and professor Willem A. Bijlefeld.
Dr. Rhodes, Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in New York, spoke about the “why, how, and what” of her most recent book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018).
In the book, she argues that interreligious feminist engagement is both a theologically valid endeavor and a vital resource for Muslim women scholars.
“There is ongoing and ambivalent debate about Islam and feminism,” she said. Using comparative feminist theology, Dr. Rhodes begins with “deep learning about the other on their own terms.” Through that process, “we understand ourselves in new ways.”
The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture is named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. It brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities.
The full lecture can be viewed below: