By Dr. Ina Merdjanova, (Trinity College Dublin)
Venue: Trinity College Dublin: Long Room Hub, Lecture Theatre
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In spite of the powerful secularization processes under communism and the ensuing transformation of religious institutions, authorities, practices, and levels of faith commitment, the religious factor remained an important cultural force and identity marker in the Balkans. Moreover, religious outlooks continued to shape and inform gender regimes. Postcommunist developments in the Balkans brought about a significant redefinition of the roles and status of Muslim women—both in the Muslim communities themselves and in the larger societies. Drawing on literature from the region and on my own fieldwork, I will discuss the place and role of Muslim women in different spheres of life such as the family, religious education and the public arena, focusing also on the veil as a central issue in debates on Islam and women.
Ina Merdjanova is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Irish School of Ecumenics / Trinity College Dublin (2010-12). She previously served as director of the Center for Interreligious Dialogue and Conflict Prevention at Sofia University, Bulgaria (2004-2010). She received her PhD from Sofia University, and has held visiting fellowships internationally. Her publications include: Religion, Nationalism, and Civil Society in Eastern Europe—The Postcommunist Palimpsest (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002); Religion as a Conversation Starter: Interreligious dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans (co-authored with Patrice Brodeur; Continuum, 2010). She is currently finalizing a book project on Muslim communities in the Balkans after the fall of communism.