Faculty Development Workshop: Tools and Resources for Study of Women in South Asian Islamic Societies

AIIS Urdu students visit the women’s NGO SEWA

On Friday December 2, 2011, the American Institute of Indian Studies, in partnership with the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, and the University of Chicago South Asia Language and Area Center, held a faculty enrichment workshop intended to provide tools and resources for promoting the study of women in Islamic Society in South Asia.

Participants were fourteen faculty members, mainly from small institutions of higher education in the northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin area. The workshop was targeted towards faculty members who do not have area studies resources at their institutions, and who do not have a background in South Asia or the study of Muslim societies.

The goals of the workshop included: 1) providing participants with the tools and resources they need to incorporate the study of women in Islamic societies into existing courses or to create new courses; 2) providing information about how the AIIS, AIPS, AIBS and the Title VI South Asia Center can facilitate the development and enhancement of educational and scholarly programs at the participants’ home institutions through opportunities for student and faculty travel and exchanges, fellowships, language study, internship and volunteer opportunities with NGOs located in South Asia; 3) generating a discussion among participants to create a process and mechanism for creating and maintaining ongoing projects and collaborations between student and faculty at the participants’ institutions and partners located in South Asia; 4) encouraging and providing resources to participants to apply for Title VI A and Title B grants and Fulbright Group Projects Abroad grants that will enhance area studies, language study and global education at their home institutions.

One key outcome of the workshop is the creation of a web site http://southasia.uchicago.edu/caorc-workshop/ which has resources for professional development, curriculum, language training, internship and study abroad opportunities. This web site will soon be interactive and will provide an opportunity for people to share ideas and plan collaborative projects; we envision that the site will also be a creative educational tool for students as well.

The American Institute of Indian Studies is grateful for the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York as well as the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. AIIS also thanks the facilitators Rafia Zakaria, Laura Hammond, Laura Ring, Fatima Imam and Sylvia Vatuk for the time and energy they devoted to their presentations. Finally, AIIS would like to especially thank colleagues from the University of Chicago South Asia Language and Area Center, Tarini Bedi, Michael Burt and Arjumand Thompson for the enormous amount of work they put into the workshop preparation and implementation, as well as the creation of the web site.