Gender Separatism and Extremism

11 May 2011, 10:30 - 16:30

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge



This workshop constitutes a collaboration between the CRASSH research seminar on ‘Postcolonial Empires: Transnational Being and Ontological Politics’ and the ‘Radical Distrust’ research programme at the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Kent, funded under the RCUK’s Global Uncertainties scene. 

The workshop aims to explore different forms of gender separatism with respect to the question of the ways in which voluntary and involuntary forms of segregation according to gender are implicated in formations of political and religious extremism. We wish to bring cross-cultural and transnational perspectives to bear on this question in acknowledgment of the multiple sites of extremist formations. In doing so, we aim to deflect from the separating out of Islamic extremism as prime example by exploring possible correlations between Islamic extremism and other extremist formations such as racist settler cultures, religious cults within the West or white pride movements.

Possible questions for debate include:

·      Does gender separatism tends to foster extremism or is it more pertinently the other way around?

·      What are the spatial and psychological dynamics of gender separatism? Are women deprived of autonomy through inclusion of the feminine within masculine spheres or through the exclusion of the feminine from masculine spheres? Are there paradoxical forms of inclusion as exclusion, or exclusion as inclusion?

·      To what extent is gender segregation a response to conflict with foreign others? What are the dynamics of loyalty and disloyalty at stake?

·      Do the Christian and Muslim veil have similar significances and functions?

·      Could radical feminist separatism be considered in extremist terms?

·      Are there similar reasons for segregated educations across nations?

·      In what ways is gender separatism a specific effect of religious leadership being confined to male figures?

Speakers at the workshop include:


Nadia El Kholy (Department of English, Cairo University)
Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist (‘INFORM’, LSE)
Fadia Faqir (Durham University)
Jocelynne Scutt (Lucy Cavendish, Cambridge)]
(CRASSH is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)
Amal Treacher Kabesh
Baroness Uddin.

Open to all

For further information, please contact:
Catherine Rashid, Caroline Rooney,  Nazneen Ahmed


Administrative contact E Lamb (Grad/Fac Programme Manager)

Part of the Postcolonial Empires series.
For more information about the group please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.

Provisional Programme

Wednesday 11 May


10.30 - 11.00


11.00 - 11.10

Welcome and Introductory Remarks (Caroline Rooney)

11.10 - 13.00

Panel 1    Gender and Leadership

Chair:  Caroline Rooney (Kent University)

Dr Amal Treacher Kabesh  (University of Nottingham)
Matters of Masculinity: Loyalty and Betrayal

Professor Nadia El Kholy (Department of English, Cairo University) Gender Separatism and Islam

Dr Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist   ('INFORM', LSE)
The Role of Gendered Spiritual Paths in the Process of Charismatisation

13.00 - 14.00

Lunch Break (provided) - Online registration required

14.00 - 15.00 






15.00 - 16.00

Panel 2   Women Under Cover?

Chair:  Nazneen Ahmed (Kent University)

Dr Jocelynne Scutt  (Lucy Cavendish, Cambridge)
The Burqa Debates

Dr Masooda Bano (Oxford)
Female Madrassas

Panel 3   Women Breaking Out

Chair: Catherine Rashid

Baroness Uddin
Bangladeshi Women in Tower Hamlets

Fadia Faqir (Durham University)
Arab Democracy Minus Women

16.00 - 16.30