[csaa-forum] Sanctuary and 'Security' seminar series

Tanja Dreher tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au
Fri Feb 3 09:35:25 CST 2006

++++ upcoming seminar series - please circulate widely ++++
The Trans/forming Cultures Centre for Research in Communication and 
Culture at UTS is holding a seminar series in 2006:
Sanctuary and 'Security' in Muslim Australia
This series is associated with the recently funded ARC project on Muslim 
Women's Networks in Contemporary Australia. Details of the project are 
included below.
We seek established and emerging scholars and postgraduates interested 
in new paradigms of engagement and learning for Muslim women in 
Australia and internationally.
We are seeking expressions of interest from all disciplinary 
perspectives in order to build a multi-disciplinary conversation across 
spectra of belief, scholarship and ethnic identification.
The seminar series will explore the experiences and perspectives of 
Australian Muslim women in regards to many issues including, but not 
limited to:
- gender, race and public space
- health, housing and education
- security and belonging
- employment and unemployment
- social inclusion and exclusion
- media and public debate
- the dynamics of community
- the politics of representation
- advocacy and activism
- feminisms
Please send expressions of interest in presenting at a seminar or 
suggestions of potential speakers to tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au 
<mailto:tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au>
For further details or to be put on our mailing list, please also 
contact tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au <mailto:tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au>
Sanctuary and Security in Contemporary Australia: Muslim Women's 
Networks, 1980-2005
An ARC Linkage funded project being conducted in partnership with the 
United Muslim Women Association
Project Summary
This project makes an important contribution to Muslim women's 
participation in public life. It researches the scope and potential of 
social networks and, crucially, acknowledges that both religious 
practice and secular activities are legitimate facets of everyday 
multicultural society. The project proposes a dynamic account of Muslim 
women's achievements and challenges, highlighting the causes and 
symptoms of past and present insecurity. The key concept of 
sanctuary-as-security is both innovative and significant to contemporary 
political debate. The project will result in a reflective organizational 
history, online oral history, policy recommendations for the advancement 
of Muslim women, and scholarly publications.
National and Community Benefit
This project supports the United Muslim Women's Association's strategic 
emphases on capacity building for young women, to increase accuracy in 
national public debate, and encourage relevant policy development. The 
project's focus on communication will maximize the potential of existing 
community and national networks. The research process will train young 
women in oral history and archival analysis, producing a sophisticated 
engagement between communities and their own lives. Accepting the role 
of religion in everyday networks, and deploying the idea of sanctuary to 
express Muslim women's need for mainstream understanding, this project 
contributes to national cohesion based on information, confidence and 
Project Overview
This project will produce an historically grounded account of Muslim 
women's networks in contemporary Australia, through the conduct of 
organizational and oral histories, archival audits, extensive 
interviews, and policy reviews.
The project hypothesises that prevalent notions of security must be 
broadened in scholarly and public debate to include an analysis of 
sanctuary in Australian society. Given the ongoing connections in the 
public mind between Islam and insecurity, this project determines to 
conduct research into the ways and means of staying safe, and in 
defining sanctuary as a dynamic and active process of community 
It is anticipated that the outcomes will allow Muslim and non-Muslim 
Australians to better understand the ways in which sanctuary is sought, 
achieved, and maintained for communities over time, and especially for 
communities under immediate social and political pressure. Both the 
process and the outcomes of the research are therefore designed to 
deepen mutual knowledge and understanding across different Muslim and 
non-Muslim communities.
The project began as an initiative of the United Muslim Women 
Association (MWA) who were seeking an evaluative history of their 
organization as it has developed over the past twenty five years. This 
history will provide the starting point for a critical understanding of 
the motivations, achievements and problems for such an organization in 
this country over that period. It will be contextualized through 
parallel case studies of other organizations of Muslim women, to compare 
the approaches to sanctuary and security that they have pursued through 
The project aims to:
¨      Provide a survey of Muslim women's networks;
¨      Document the history of the MWA in its local and national contexts;
¨      Develop an oral history of Muslim women's experiences in Australia;
¨      Publish the histories to both inform and provide advice for 
Muslim and non-Muslim women's networks in Australia, and for relevant 
policy-makers in federal, state, and local government;
¨      Provide capacity-building research opportunities for Muslim women.
About the MWA
The MWA is a community-based organisation that has specialised in the 
delivery of services to Muslim Women of diverse cultures and their 
families in New South Wales for over twenty years. The Association has 
worked to foster and promote Muslim women's participation and 
involvement in Australia's culturally and religiously diverse society by 
catering to the welfare, social, educational, religious and recreational 
needs of Muslim women.
Chief Investigators:
1.      Professor Stephanie Donald (Institute for International Studies, 
2.      Dr Devleena Ghosh (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UTS)
3.      Dr Christina Ho (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UTS)
4.      Associate Professor Heather Goodall (Faculty of Humanities and 
Social Sciences, UTS)
Partner Investigators:
1.      Ms Maha Krayem Abdo (United Muslim Women Association)
2.      Ms Genan Dadoun (United Muslim Women Association)

Dr Tanja Dreher
Trans/forming Cultures
University of Technology, Sydney
PO Box 123
Broadway 2007
E: tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au <mailto:tanja.dreher at uts.edu.au>
P: (02) 9514 2757
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