Ayesha S. Chaudhry

Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law, and Social Justice

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
The University of British Columbia
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Reforming Islamic law by constructing a feminist Shari’a.

Research relevance

This research will lead to the development of a gender-equal vision of Islamic law.

Constructing a Feminist Shari’a

As Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice, Dr. Ayesha S. Chaudhry aims to bring nuance and complexity to a debate about gender and Islam that is currently oversimplified and harmful to democracy.

Chaudhry’s research sits at the intersection of Islamic and gender studies, and combines textual analysis, sociological survey work, and critical legal studies. She and her research team are especially interested in including the voices of Muslim women themselves in conversations that concern, yet often exclude, them. To do so, they are drawing on the work of religious feminists, Muslim feminists, and theories of intersectionality.

Their research program focuses on how that religious discourse intersects with state law, how the field of religious feminism demonstrates the mutually enlightening nature of feminist and religious debate, and how intersectional research can enrich public debate around Islam and Muslims.

Ultimately, Chaudhry’s goal is to allow Muslim women’s voices and attitudes to determine how texts are interpreted and how laws are enacted, rather than the other way around. Her research is geared toward creating a more sophisticated public discussion around Islam and Muslims so that informed, rational dialogue can replace paternalism and demagoguery.