The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender (Routledge, 2020), edited by Justine Howe, includes an excellent introduction to Islam and gender as well as to the volume and 31 content chapters, written by national and international, and established and emerging scholars. It encompasses a wide range of scholarship on many themes in the study of gender and Islam, including sex, sexuality, masculinity, femininity, women’s lived experiences, female authority, fertility, and queerness. It is organized in seven parts, which are: foundational texts in historical and contemporary contexts; sex, sexuality, and gender difference; political and religious displacements; negotiating law, ethics, and normativity; vulnerability, care, and violence in Muslim families; and representation, commodification, and popular culture. Each section utilizes various approaches, theories, and methods in understanding Islam, and examines key questions and debates in the specific area the chapters fall in.
The book makes for an excellent introduction to Islam and gender, its audience not limited to specialists and experts of Islam, but also undergraduate and graduate students of Islam, gender, religion, Anthropology, History, Sociology, to name a few. It is an essential pedagogical tool for the classroom, as well as an essential reference for any researcher of Islam.
Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.