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Distributed for Brandeis University Press

Gender, Religion, and Family Law

Theorizing Conflicts between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

Gender, Religion, and Family Law

Theorizing Conflicts between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions

In many regions of the world, rights guaranteed under the civil law, including rights to gender equality within marriage and rights in the distribution of family property and child custody upon divorce, are in conflict with the principles of religious law. Women’s rights issues are often at the heart of these tensions, which present pressing challenges for theorists, lawyers, and policymakers. This anthology brings together leading scholars and activists doing innovative work in Jewish law, Muslim law, Christian law, and African customary law. Using examples drawn from a variety of nations and religions, they interrogate the utility of recent theoretical models for engaging with gender and multicultural conflicts, explore contextual differences, and analyze and celebrate stories of successful initiatives that have transformed legal and cultural norms to improve women’s lives.

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Table of Contents

Preface • Introduction: Theorizing Conflicts between Women’s Rights and Religious Laws - Lisa Fishbayn Joffe • The Ethics of Recognizing Religious Family Law in Secular Societies • Principles or Compromises: Accommodating Gender Equality and Religious Freedom in Multicultural Societies - Martha Minow • Privatizing Diversity: A Cautionary Tale from Religious Arbitration in Family Law - Ayelet Shachar • Marriage Pluralism, Family Law Jurisdiction, and Sex Equality in the United States - Linda C. McClain • Exploring the Intersections of Civil and Religious Laws • From Religious “Right” to Civil “Wrong”: Using Israeli Tort Law to Unravel the Knots of Gender, Equality, and Jewish Divorce - Susan Weiss • Flirting with God in Western Secular Courts: Mahr in the West - Pascale Fournier • Muslim Family Law in South Africa: Conflating the Right to Religion with the Privileging of Religion? - Rashida Manjoo • Recognition of Polygamous Marriages in the New South Africa - Likhapha Mbatha and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe • Narratives of Innovative Law Reform • Women, Resources, and Changing the Religious System: A Case Study of the Orthodox Jewish Wedding Ritual - Irit Koren • The Yoetzet Halakhah: Avoiding Conflict While Instituting Change - Michal Roness • The Temple of Women Initiates Project: A Framework for Culturally Meaningful Feminist Expression in Rural Areas - Fatou Kiné Camara • List of Contributors • Index

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