Since my last blog post, I’ve decided to further narrow the scope of my paper. I had initially hoped to cover portrayals of women in secular and religious Renaissance art, as well as women artists of the same time period. However, in doing my research, I realized that this collection of topics was extremely broad and that I needed to narrow my focus more in order to have some hope of developing a cohesive paper. I have decided to focus on the topics of female portraiture, marriage furniture, and women artists. In this blog post, I’ll give an overview of female portraiture.
First off, I didn’t have great internet access this summer so please excuse my delayed posts.
After getting in contact with Dr. Andy Coleman, who works at IMMS, I struggled to come up with a time that we could meet. He only took boats out to do surveying during the week, and I worked during the week. However, much to my dismay last weekend, I had to work Saturday. Then my boss gave me the subsequent Monday off! At first, I thought, “What am I going to do all day while everyone else is in class or at work?” Luckily, one of my mentors suggested that I go out on a turtle survey, after I’d been telling her how much I’d been dying to go. After a quick email exchange with Andy, we decided I could meet up with him and his colleague, Jonathon that Monday.
For the final leg of my project, I researched the triple talaq. Divorce is considered the most reprehensible action allowed in Islam, and is condemned by the Prophet (according to multiple hadith reports). Either husband or wife can initiate divorce, though the specific procedures are different for each. Husbands use talaq, wives use khula’, mutual consent is Mubarat, and in court it is referred to as Faskh (Baxamusa 19). Talaq is extra-judicial and can be initiated by the husband alone without the consent of his wife. Therefore, the husband has the absolute power to divorce. The talaq, or dismissal from marriage, may be pronounced in the form of ahsan, Hasan or Bid’ah. I have been focusing on the Talaq-a-Bid’ah form of divorce, or the ‘triple talaq,’ for it has been and continues to be a controversial and troublesome process in India today.
The ways in which we define words is crucial, and the importance of definitions has played a part in my research so far in the relationship between minority rights and women’s rights. Is religion a belief system, separate from our daily routine, or a driving force behind every decision we make? Is a community limited to its size, or driven by its power and sense of identity? And are civil rights limited to a singular type of identity, irrespective of the overlap between such labels as ‘minorities’ and ‘women’? The differences in these definitions stem from those who are given the power to define: the Indian government, the Muslim religious leaders, Indian women, Muslim women, divorced Muslim women, etc., and the ways in which minority rights and women’s rights are implemented in law.