Religious Authority and Agency among Muslim Women

Religious Authority and Agency among Muslim Women

The Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University, invites Ph.D. students with interest in the topic to discuss their work.

Date and place: Tuesday June 18th 2019, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University


Muslim women’s agency and authority are highly relevant and broadly discussed subjects. This accounts for the European public debate about Islam where for instance women’s roles in mosque milieus or Muslim women’s self-determination regarding dress are frequently and broadly debated, but also in academic research on Islam authority and agency among women are of growing interest. Much research show that Muslim women play important roles as religious agents in both their own lives and in Islamic communities, for instance as teachers or students of theology. Often, though, the way women exert agency differs considerably from traditional conceptions of political agency. The subject of Muslim women’s agency and authority benefits clearly from being studied and discussed from different angles and disciplinary fields, and this PhD course will stimulate such discussions.

Dr. Hilary Kalmbach is Lecturer in Middle Eastern History in the History Department at the University of Sussex and is a world-leading expert on female Islamic authority. Kalmbach has contributed with highly relevant and interesting research on the field, touching subjects such as authority, knowledge, and religious education. She is the co-editor (together with Masooda Bano) of the important anthology on the subject, Women, Leadership, and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority (2012); the first to bring together analyses of female Islamic leadership in geographically and ideologically-diverse communities worldwide.

Dr. Kalmbach will give feedback to all PhD students participating in the course and will qualify discussions.
The goal of the workshop is to provide PhD students with focused direct constructive feedback on their work-in-progress and to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion and networking.

Suggested themes include, but are not limited to

  • Women’s Islamic Education
  • Islamic Feminism
  • Subjectivity Formation among Muslim Women
  • Women’s Religious Scholarship and Leadership
  • Family Law Cases
  • Islam, Gender and Sexuality
  • Religious Authority
  • Female Imams
  • Gender in the Study of the Qur’an

Tentative Programme

  • 09.00 - 09.15  Coffee/Tea and welcome
  • 09.15 - 09.45  Short presentation of PhD projects
  • 10.00 - 11.30  Public lecture by Dr. Kalmbach
  • 11.30 - 12.30  Lunch
  • 12.30 - 14.00  PhD presentations (A)
  • 14.00 - 14.20  Coffee
  • 14.20 - 15.50  PhD presentations (B)
  • 15.50 - 16.00  Break
  • 16.00 - 16.45  Discussion and sum up
  • 18.30-  Dinner

ECTS:  3 points


If you would like to attend, please send:

  • letter of motivation
  • short cv
  • abstract of your oral presentation to Maria Lindebæk Lyngsøe: no later than May 28th.


  • Submission of applications: May 28th 2019
  • Acceptance: June 4th 2019

Organizers: Pernille Friis Jensen (PhD fellow) and Maria Lindebæk Lyngsøe (PhD fellow), both at University of Copenhagen, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies.

All inquiries: