This workshop draws on ethnographic data we have collected in contemporary Malaysia over the past three decades to explore Malay women’s empowerment in the home (marriage), at the workplace, and in higher education. We are interested in how women achieve empowerment through / with other women. To this end, we will examine the effects of patriarchy on intra-gender relations — i.e., how patriarchy seeps into everyday relations between women. We want to know: What resources are needed for women’s advancement, and what intersectional factors such as class, age, gender, and matrimonial rank affect their access to these resources? How do legal, educational, religious, and political institutions perpetuate patriarchal structures in society, and how can women overcome these? How do women contribute to each other’s advancement and empowerment?
13:00–13:15 Welcome & opening remarks
13:15–13:45 Paper 1 — “Enemies from Within: Love Magic, Sorcery & Intra-female Violence in Malay Polygyny” — Nurul Huda Mohd. Razif (JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, CSEAS, Kyoto University)
13:45–14:15 Q&A, discussion
14:15–14:30 Coffee break
14:30–15:00 Paper 2 — “Sexualized Joking in the Malay Corporate Workplace” — Prof. Patricia Sloane-White (Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Women & Gender Studies, University of Delaware)
15:00–15:30 Q&A, discussion
15:30–15:45 Coffee break
15:45–16:30 Paper 3 — “Socio-cultural Contexts of Reverse Gender Gap in Higher Education in Malaysia” — Hiroko Kushimoto (Sophia University) & Azmira Amran (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
16:30–17:00 Q&A, discussion
17:00–17:15 General discussion & closing remarks
Nurul Huda Mohd. Razif is a social anthropologist working on the intersection between Islam, intimacy, and the state in Muslim-majority Southeast Asia. Since completing her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2018, she has held research fellowships at Harvard Law School (Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World) and in centers for Southeast Asian studies in Leiden, Paris, and Kyoto, where she is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Kyoto University. Her work has been published in journals on gender, Islamic law, and Southeast Asian studies, including HAWWA: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, Asian Studies Review, Archipel, and Journal of Legal Anthropology. In 2024, she will be joining the CanCode Project at the University of Bergen as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow for a project called “MALAYMATRIMONEY,” which will examine the codification of Malay adat in Malaysian Islamic family law in matters of matrimonial wealth.
Professor Patricia Sloane-White is a social anthropologist who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology at Amherst College, her M.A. in Anthropology at Princeton University, and her DPhil at University of Oxford. She is a professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies with joint appointments in Asian Studies and Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, USA. She has been teaching at the University of Delaware since 2002, and prior to that was teaching tutorials in Social Anthropology at Oxford University, served as a post-doctoral researcher at the National University of Malaysia (UKM), and is the recipient of two Fulbright Awards. She has researched Islam, Muslim entrepreneurship, and corporate business in Malaysia for nearly 30 years and has written numerous articles on the Malaysian Muslim middle class, gender, shariah, zakat, and the Muslim workplace. The author of Islam, Modernity and Entrepreneurship among the Malays (Palgrave/Macmillian, 1998), her recent book, the winner of several awards in law and religion, is Corporate Islam: Sharia and the Modern Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2017). The book was translated into Turkish in 2021. Patricia served as the Chair of the Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Studies group, a section of the Association for Asian Studies in the U.S. for four years until 2022 and currently serves as a member of its Executive Committee.
Dr. Hiroko Kushimoto is currently Associate professor at Faculty of Global Studies, Sophia University (2019-current). Her specialty is cultural anthropology and Comparative Education with a special focus on Islam and Muslim society in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. She received her PhD from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2012), and has conducted long-term field research in Malaysia (2005-2011). She previously worked as Assistant professor at Kulliyyah of Languages and Management, International Islamic University Malaysia (2014-2019).
Noor Azmira Amran is a second year doctoral student at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, specialising in interlanguage pragmatics and cross-cultural communication. With experience in Malaysia as a Curriculum Officer at the Ministry of Education and as an In-service Teacher Trainer, her research focuses on understanding pragmatic competence in second language learners, considering cultural contexts and social norms. Azmira aims to develop pedagogical approaches and interventions to enhance learners’ pragmatic skills and promote successful communication in diverse cultural settings. Currently, she is assisting Dr. Kushimoto on her research on Reversed Gender Gap phenomenon in Malaysian higher education settings.