Funded by: H2020 MSCA-IF-2018

Fellow: Dr Rahat Imran

Dates: Jan 2020 – Dec 2021

Muslim women academic writers, historians, critics and journalists have questioned their own political, social and gender histories to formulate strategies for emancipation and equal rights. In particular, they have turned to film to extend their feminist agenda.

MUSLIMWOMENFILM is a EU-funded interdisciplinary project that identifies a new object of study, Muslim women’s auto/biographical filmmaking, and maps the factors that make it distinctive within women’s and feminist cinema.

This project will break new ground as the first comprehensive study of Muslim women filmmakers’ first-person documentary and auto/biographical cinemas from the Muslim world, with an additional focus on the work of representative diasporic women filmmakers who have addressed questions of Muslim integration in the European context.

Filling for the first time a gaping lacuna in Film Studies, the project will map Muslim women’s filmic depictions of their own condition and, through their personal experiences, of issues that broadly impact women’s lives across Muslim cultures, such as gender-specific marginalization, oppressive religious laws, and domestic violence. The study will draw the necessary attention to the struggle of Muslim women filmmakers who face momentous constraints to assert their right to represent their own lives and feminist perspectives, and contribute new material and knowledge to the rapidly growing field of first-person expression in film, and of autobiographical studies more broadly.

Research on Muslim women’s contribution to feminist auto/biographical cinema remains a notable gap in film studies, and this project will shed new light in particular on relevant works produced in a range of different societies. One of its important outcomes will be a corpus produced by identifying and categorizing the different modes of autobiographical film created by Muslim women filmmakers from the Islamic world from the 1980s to date.

Mentored by Professor Laura Rascaroli and based at the Department of Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, this founding study will create a new object of study: First-person and auto/biographical Muslim women’s film.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 837154.