22 February 2022 • Faculty Anwar’s Book Makes Top 10 List

A Genealogy of Islamic Feminism recognized by Indonesian publisher.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Etin Anwar’s study of Islamic feminism was recently selected as a Top 10 Book on Islam by Mizan Publishing.

Published in 2018, A Genealogy of Islamic Feminism: Pattern and Change in Indonesia offers new insight on the changing relationship between Islam and feminism from the colonial era in the 1900s to the early 1990s in Indonesia. The book takes a genealogical approach to examine the multifaceted encounters between Islam and feminism, attempting to rediscover egalitarianism in the Islamic tradition.

“I am pleased that Mizan Publishing started a new tradition of recognizing top books in the field of Islamic studies and I am honored to be included on this list,” says Anwar, noting her admiration for the Indonesian publishing house’s “courage to place this book into the public [view].”

A Genealogy of Islamic Feminism: Pattern and Change in Indonesia juxtaposes both colonial and postcolonial sites in the country, exposing the changes and the patterns of the encounters between Islam and feminism both locally and globally, from local women’s movements and adat (customs), to Dutch colonialism, transnational feminism and the United Nations. The book uses a genealogical approach to examine the multifaceted encounters between Islam and feminism in an attempt to rediscover egalitarianism in the Islamic tradition — a concept which has been subjugated by hierarchical gender systems.

Learn more about the book.

Anwar notes that her book offers an antidote to “the anti-feminist campaign that has been going on for a while [in Indonesia],” she explains, citing an Instagram campaign that hinges on “statements such as ‘my body is not mine’ and ‘Indonesia does not need feminism.’”

Anti-feminist hashtags, which are searchable on most social media platforms, give the campaign a wider reach and “make it more relatable, especially to millennials who are themselves social media savvy,” Anwar says.

With a webinar based on her book, Anwar hopes to encourage “more Muslim men and women [to] recognize that Islamic and feminist encounters have been historically present in Indonesia. The more familiar they are with Islamic feminism, the more likely they participate in combating anti-feminism.”

Anwar has begun work on a new book that focuses on the Muslim diaspora and identity formation. Her first book, Gender and Self in Islam, was published in 2006. She has also written chapters in many textbooks and contributed to encyclopedias and journals such as The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic WorldIslamic Studies and The Journal of Oromo Studies.

Anwar teaches courses on gender and Islam, Islamic mysticism and Islamic environment. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, interpretation and culture from SUNY Binghamton, where she also received a certificate in feminist theory; a master’s degree in Islamic studies from McGill University; and a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from the State Institute for Islamic Studies in Bandung, Indonesia.