Simon Fraser University

Islamic feminism & natural disasters

February 08, 2007

Feminism and Islam
Is it possible to be a Muslim feminist? They are not mutually exclusive terms says Women's Studies lecturer Itrath Syed, who is currently teaching a course on contemporary debates in Muslim women's feminism. Syed, whose graduate work focussed on the media representation of the Sharia law debate in Ontario and who worked nearly seven years at a battered women's shelter, is frustrated by media inferences that any one culture is inherently more violent towards women. "When a white man murders a white woman, we don't say, 'Oh, there's a problem with all white men," she says. "Violence is not okay in any culture."
Itrath Syed, Women's Studies, 604-278-5101,

Keeping an eye on natural disasters
Avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, climate change—John Clague is keeping an eye out for all kinds of potential natural disasters in B.C. The Canada Research Chair in natural hazard research can comment on the increased risk of avalanches this spring, given the kind of winter we’ve been having. Clague can also talk about the annual windows of higher earthquake risk that could set off the long awaited Big One. “It is likely that the next big earthquake will strike our coast during one of the next 300 windows,” explains Clague. “It’s unfortunate that we don’t yet know which one will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
John Clague, 604.291.5444,

Leading the way in French education
SFU’s recently launched doctorate in educational leadership is the first program of its kind offered in French in western Canada. The faculty of education and the office of francophone and francophile affairs (OFFA) have put together the program. Dedicated to helping education administrators manage issues related to diversity, including the development of core French programs, French immersion and francophone schools, the first offering of the program has attracted 16 students. Diane Dagenais, the program’s first professor, can elaborate.
Diane Dagenais, 604.291.3203,
Danielle Arcand, 604.268.6866,

Tweens don’t really twig
Fashion marketing may provoke tweens to dress provocatively, but these girls often don’t fully grasp the sexual nature of their attire. That’s the finding of Sara Bearch, an SFU research associate who has produced a video of her interviews and shopping excursions with tweens over an eight-month period. Bearch says that pre-teen girls often don’t consciously think of dressing sexually, but are “busy preparing for their teen years and learning the norms of this new social role before officially entering that cultural space.”
Sara Bearch, 778.882.8086,

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