Associate Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice; Member of the Global Muslim Women's Shura Council
Dr. Ayesha S. Chaudhry is the Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice and Associate Professor of Islamic studies and Gender studies at the University of British Columbia, where she has served on the Board of Governors. In 2018, she was named a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellow and in 2019, she will be inducted as Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. She was a 2016-17 Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Study at UBC and she was the 2015-16 Rita E. Hauser fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the author of Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law, and the Muslim Discourse on Gender (Oxford University Press, 2014). She has consulted on high-level national and international cases concerning human rights, religious freedom, and pluralism. She works with NGOs and international development organizations to improve women’s rights and promote pluralism. She is currently working on two major projects, one entitled “Feminist Shari’a” and a trilogy entitled “The Colour of God”. "Feminist Shari'a" re-imagines the narrative of ‘Ā’isha, Muḥammad’s youngest wife. Constructions of 'Ā'isha are central to justifying and supporting patriarchal Islamic laws, especially those regarding women’s political and religious leadership, women’s testimony, polygamy, child marriage and virginity testing, slander and corporal punishment for illicit sex, and domestic violence. Therefore, creating a feminist narrative of ‘Ā’isha is necessary for Islamic legal reform. Chaudhry is examining premodern, patriarchal constructions of ‘Ā’isha, investigating modern Muslim debates around these laws, and proposing strategies for reimagining ‘Ā’isha to frame a narrative for a gender-equal Islamic law. Looking at major Muslim debates about gender through the lens of ‘Ā’isha will provide a counter-narrative to conceptions of a patriarchal Islam. Chaudhry earned her PhD in Middle East and Islamic studies from New York University and a collaborative MA in Near Eastern civilizations and women’s studies from the University of Toronto. She is a contributor to the Globe and Mail. Chaudhry has been an Early Career Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC.