Professor Ousseina D. Alidou will discuss her new book, Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, and Social Change (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), which explores how Muslim women across Kenya are emerging as leaders in local, national, and international contexts, advancing reforms through their activism in education, journalism, legislative politics, social justice, health, law, and other arenas. Alidou's book draws on extensive interviews with six such women, revealing how their religious and moral beliefs shape reform movements that bridge ethnic divides and foster alliances in service of creating a just, multicultural, multiethnic, and democratic citizenship.
Examining the interplay of gender, agency, and autonomy, Alidou shows how these Muslim women have effected change in the home, school, mosque, media, and more. She illuminates their determination to challenge the oppressive influences of male-dominated power structures. In looking at differences as opportunities rather than obstacles, they reflect a new sensibility among Muslim women, redefining the meaning of women’s citizenship within their own community of faith and within the nation.