Celebration of Scholarship - April 25, 2012
"A Woman Named Honor: The Good, the Bad and the Remembered"
Abstract: The presentation will focus on the story of a woman named Honor that I heard from my mother while growing up in Pakistan. Part of family lore, her story was part of my education in the rules that make a woman's survival possible in a patriarchal society. I tell it again in the context of my own life and scholarship to reveal how the lessons of the past, its pronouncements of good and bad must be rethought in the reality of the present. Through the story, I also reveal how this dance of opposites, of us and them, keeps all of us, men and women, trapped in the details of our differences, hiding at great cost, the universality of our resilience and suffering.
Biography: Rafia Zakaria is the first Pakistani American woman to serve as a Director for Amnesty International USA. She is an, author and human rights activist focusing on Muslim women and minority rights. She co-founded the Muslim Women's Legal Fund which provides legal representation to Muslim women facing domestic abuse in family and immigration law cases.
She is author of the forthcoming book "Silence in Karachi: an intimate history of Pakistan" which focuses on the transformations in private relationships during times of political tumult (Beacon Press).
Rafia writes a weekly column for DAWN Pakistan's largest English newspaper and is a blogger for Ms. Magazine in the United States. Her work has been quoted or has appeared in the New York Times, Arts and Letters Daily, Guernica, Dissent, the Nation and the American Prospect. She is the only Pakistani American woman recognized by a joint resolution of the Indiana House and Senate for her work on women's rights. In 2011 she was recognized by her alma mater Belmont University as a "Liberating Voice" for women along with Dr. Maya Angelou and others.
Rafia is an attorney (JD Indiana University 03) and PhD candidate in Political Philosophy at Indiana University. She teaches Political Theory, American Constitutional Law and the Politics of Islam. Herr Dissertation is entitled "Negotiating Identity: Sharia, multiculturalism and Muslim women."