2023/ 2024

Lana Sirri

Muslim Women on the Front Lines of Social and Political Change: A Case Study of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Previous Fellowships: 2022/ 2023

(c) Loraine Bodewes

Lana Sirri completed her PhD studies at the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2016. She was then appointed Assistant Professor in Gender and Religion at Maastricht University. In 2022, she was awarded the Dutch National Grant (NWO) to conduct four-year postdoctoral research at the University of Amsterdam. Her research critically examines Muslim feminist discourses, focusing on the conceptualisation of religion, gender and sexuality. Her book Islamic Feminism: Discourses on Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Islam was published in 2020 by Routledge. As knowledge valorisation and societal outreach are indispensable to her academic journey, Lana published a non-fiction book titled Einführung in islamische Feminismen (2017 & 2020). This book makes different perspectives of Islamic feminism accessible to lay readers. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Lana is embarking on a creative endeavor to adapt her book into a graphic novel designed as an empowerment tool for Muslim youth in Germany. Lana is an associated expert of the Centre for Intersectional Justice (CIJ) and a member of the FG DeKolonial. In the academic years 2022-24 she is an affiliated EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien.

Lana’s personal website:

Muslim Women on the Front Lines of Social and Political Change: A Case Study of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

This research aims to generate a nuanced theorisation of Muslim women’s agency. It focuses on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries—a neglected region in the Anglo-Saxon social sciences, and engages with previously ignored scholarship written in Arabic. This aim will be achieved using three main strategies: a) highlighting women’s diverse lived experiences in the region, b) mapping their scholarship and grassroots social movements, and c) examining their role as subjects and agents of social change. The research consists of four objectives 1) analysis of the social categories ‘gender,’ ‘agency’ and ‘religion,’ and their intersection in the work of female academics, 2) characterisation of ‘bottom-up’ feminist mobilisation, 3) investigation of women’s grassroots social movements and their involvement in digital activism, and 4) examination of the intersection of academia, grassroots activism and social media. Methodologically, the research employs textual analysis, critical discourse analysis, and (digital and virtual) ethnography, involving qualitative interviews with female scholars and social (digital) activists as well as participant observation in physical and virtual settings. This research will advance social scientific understandings of agency, and in particular the fields of gender studies and feminist thought. Moreover, the amplification of women’s diverse experiences and marginalised Arabic scholarship promotes the decolonisation of knowledge production on women, gender and Islam.