Displaying items 16 - 30 of 40 in total
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    Piety, Music and Gender Transformation: Reconfiguring Women as Culture Bearing Markers of Modernity and Nationalism in Bangladesh, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    The rise in an intense, textually‐based piety, which has become increasingly prevalent in many circles in Bangladesh in the past decade, sees music as taking away from an ideal pious disposition, and therefore considers its removal from everyday life as a requisite to becoming a good Muslim. The removal of music is critically looked upon by secular Bengali Muslims, where singing, especially songs of the Nobel Laureate Tagore, is equated with cultural pride and Bangladeshi nationalism in the secular‐liberal, especially the intellectual imaginary. The shunning of such music is thus tantamount to shunning ‘Bengaliness’ and a source of anxiety for the nationalist. In this article, through a deeper exploration of women's struggles of and sense of achievement in giving up music, I argue that for the women in pursuit of piety, what the act of giving up music speaks to is inner changes that enable them to critically reflect upon roles and relationships that have long been the defining features of a particular kind of middle class, Bengali, feminine self. …

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    Popular Expressions And Matters Of Faith, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    Walking down the streets of Dhaka – or anywhere in Bangladesh for that matter – popular expressions of matters of faith, specifically Islam, strike the eye. Painted on public transport vehicles such as trucks, three-wheeled auto taxis or bicycle rickshaws, painted on walls and minarets of mosques, paintings and calligraphy dot the landscape. While Islamic expressions are normally associated with high art forms that reflect deep spirituality and faith, or more recently with the growing politicization which is often seen as extremism or fanaticism, these popular images reflect an every day and comfortable co-existence with the faith. Eschewing the high art forms of the Mughal and Sultanate traditions of the 15th to the 18th centuries, these images reflect a more folk tradition, and an easy accommodation with religion and culture. …

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    Stories Of Change

    Stories of Change is a film by Kamar Ahmad Simon and Sara Afreen about five women aged between 16 to 60 years old, coming from different regions and religions within Bangladesh, different yet common in sharing their dreams. …

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    The Meaning Of Empowerment, Daily Star

    A short article explaining BRAC Development Institute’s research into what ‘empowerment’ means when applied to women’s position, rights and development in Bangladesh, and how BRAC is mapping out the processes that have contributed to women’s empowerment. Firdous Azim demonstrates how the research is pushing us to reexamine the word empowerment in new and challenging ways, to take it out of its more formal meanings and to look at the ways that women themselves understand the process. …

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    The New 21st Century Woman

    What is new and different in the formation of the 21st century Bangladeshi woman in comparison to her formation in the 20th century? What forces are at play in the construction of the figure of this new millennial woman? The Pathways of Women’s Empowerment research consortium has identified three themes to map out the progress and changes in women’s lives. The notion of ‘progress’ must be problematized, and a cultural trajectory must be used to see where the conflicts between tradition and modernity are still at play, what these concepts mean in the lives of women, and what are the main cultural factors that pertain to the lives of women today. In this chapter, Azim refers to three broad fields: religion, especially Islam; the role of new media; and the development discourse and analyses their role in the fashioning of the new Bangladeshi woman. …

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    The New 21st Century Woman

    What is new and different in the formation of the 21st century Bangladeshi woman in comparison to her formation in the 20th century? What forces are at play in the construction of the figure of this new millennial woman? The Pathways of Women’s Empowerment research consortium has identified three themes to map out the progress and changes in women’s lives. The notion of ‘progress’ must be problematized, and a cultural trajectory must be used to see where the conflicts between tradition and modernity are still at play, what these concepts mean in the lives of women, and what are the main cultural factors that pertain to the lives of women today. In this chapter, Azim refers to three broad fields: religion, especially Islam; the role of new media; and the development discourse and analyses their role in the fashioning of the new Bangladeshi woman. …

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    The New Woman Of The Twenty-First Century In Bangladesh

    The author presents the findings of her research to look at two dominant factors – religion and popular culture – that have affected women’s lives in Bangladesh in their search to give it meaning and form. This research stemmed from an exploratory paper five years ago, and sought to answer the questions: How are we to understand these ‘new’ women? What are the policy and programmatic interventions that are now required? How are they being articulated by women themselves? In short, what’s new in new women’s lives? In this paper presented to Pathways South Asia Hub Final Conference, 26-28 July 2011, first Azim provides a background on nation- and identity-building in post-colonial South Asia and then examines the position of women a hundred years on to see if there has been a ‘resolution’ of the nation- and identity- building issues, or what shape and form they have acquired since. The research found that religion, however it figured into women’s lives, was always empowering and was not seen as anti-modern or conservative. With regard to popular culture, they found that women viewers of TV were aware of social messages on TV and were critical of TV programming’s lack of diversity. …

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    The Visibility Of A Pious Public, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    The downfall of Suharto's regime in 1998 has been marked by the increasing visibility of Islamic piety in a form of popular culture. Tracing the emergent new genre of sinetron religi (religious TV series/serials), this paper analyses the discourses of Islamic piety in several different series/serials, the construction of the public and the wider implication of these discourses for the position of Islam culturally and politically in Indonesia. This article argues that religious melodrama series/serials are a site of contestation of incoherent concepts of piety. As cultural texts, they interpellate their public and allow us to see how the visibility of religious discourses in public becomes a subject of negotiations and confrontations, while at the same time they trigger the politicisation of piety as national identity. …

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    'Voice' As A Pathway To Women's Empowerment: Reflections On The Indian Experience

    This chapter explores different ways in which ‘voice’ has been a pathway to empowerment in India. Three major streams are discussed, the women’s movement, official efforts to institutionalize women’s voice, and decentralization with reservation which has guaranteed a space in local governance to women. The manner of engagement between the women’s movement and the State is reviewed. A more detailed discussion of the Panchayat institutions with empirical evidence on women’s participation is presented. …

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    Women And Paid Work In Pakistan

    This chapter offers an analysis of women and paid work with a view to identifying where there are changes underway in this area that may play a role in leading to equitable gender relations in Pakistan in the long term. The discussion is based on existing research on the subject, which comes from a variety of disciplines. Much of the research that will be discussed below is preliminary and based on micro-studies, or on larger quantitative surveys that may have ignored some of the diversity within the country. Women in Pakistan live in a society that is highly stratified according to class, caste, region and cultural variations, all of which have implications for their lives and opportunities. …

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    Women And Religion In Bangladesh: New Paths

    In south Asia as elsewhere in the world, religion has come to play an increasing role in shaping and reshaping women’s lives. This process is a particular challenge to people like Firdous Azim, a feminist who “grew up” intellectually and politically via involvement in the women’s movement of the 1980s in Bangladesh. The activism of that period was explicitly secular; its main priorities were the issues of rights, inequalities and violence prevalent in a young state which had achieved independence only in 1971. Firdous Azim is professor in the department of English and the humanities at BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. …

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    Women In Local Government: The Pakistan Experience (Chapter)

    This chapter looks at women’s representation in local government in Pakistan, focusing particularly on the introduction of a quota setting 33 per cent of the seats for women brought in under General Musharraf’s Devolution of Power Plan in 2000. The article suggests that establishing a direct correlation between a woman’s quota and regime type is problematic. It demonstrates a complex pattern of interaction on the issue by both the military and civilian regimes in Pakistan. Policies which have been brought in, informed both by political pragmatism and ideological continuity, have been wide ranging and almost contradictory in nature. …

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    Women, Islam And Nation In Bengal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    Women have always been central to the process of national identity formation in South Asia, and in the contests and contradictions with which such monolithic identity making is, of necessity, faced. It is hoped that the new scholarship will open up new ways of negotiating contested terrains, and will shed new light on the historical and cultural positioning of women in this process. In this article, Azim reviews two books that look at Islam and the politics of being Muslim in Bangladesh. The books concentrate on the construction of Islam or a Muslim polity as well as on the position of women within emerging structures. …

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    Women, Islam And Nation In Bengal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12.2

    Women have always been central to the process of national identity formation in South Asia, and in the contests and contradictions with which such monolithic identity making is, of necessity, faced. It is hoped that the new scholarship will open up new ways of negotiating contested terrains, and will shed new light on the historical and cultural positioning of women in this process. In this article, Azim reviews two books that look at Islam and the politics of being Muslim in Bangladesh. The books concentrate on the construction of Islam or a Muslim polity as well as on the position of women within emerging structures. …

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    Women On The Move. Photo Essay, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 10.3

    A photo-essay co-authored by Professor Firdous Azim and Samia Rahim from the Pathways South Asia Hub, published by the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Journal. The essay is based on a travelling photography exhibition that was organised by the Hub in December 2007 which depicted the "Changing Images of Women in Bangladesh". …