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Showing posts from September, 2018

Accountability, Courts, Misogyny

By Julie Novkov University at Albany, SUNY



Whether or not Republicans acknowledge it, the elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will create a legitimacy problem for the Court. As comparative scholar Fionnuala Ní Aoláin explains, “allegations of sexual misconduct by senior judges and judicial nominees have been rare globally,” and when they have been raised in Costa Rica, India, and Namibia, the judges involved were removed through the operation of “a combination of criminal process, judicial investigation, and administrative/police investigations.” The US Supreme Court’s role both within the United States and as an internationally visible institution demands a high standard of judicial accountability and fair process. Lifetime appointment and the belief in the court as very powerful bring a national spotlight to hearings, making terrible processes all the worse. Even as more women have joined the United States judiciary, Senators and nominees still can choose to use …

How Are Women Faring in Islamic Courts? Anthropological and Historical Perspectives from Malaysia

By Michael G. Peletz
Department of Anthropology, Emory University


We live in a time when headlines about Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq dominate many Westerners’ understandings of Muslims, Islam, and Islamic law (sharia) in particular. We typically hear very little if anything about “ordinary Muslims”, who are neither political nor religious elites and are not in the forefront of political or religious movements. Our understandings of Muslims and the lived realities of sharia are further limited by two additional factors. First, most discussions of Islam and sharia that unfold in Western media and other venues of Western culture focus on the Middle East and North Africa, largely ignoring South and Southeast Asia, home to more than half the world’s Muslims. And second, many of these discussions fail to critically engage -- indeed, some of them actively reproduce -- centuries-old Western stereotypes suggesting that, throughout …