The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, December 05, 2016

Mansplaining Ḥafṣa

Back in 2014 Dr Ruqayya Khan, Woman In Scholarship, asked “did a woman edit the Qurʾān” - rhetorically, to head up an ugly work of feminist apologetic in scholarly drag. Earlier this year I was translating some Guillaume Dye, and remembered Khan’s article; so I took that opportunity to mansplain things. Today, in IQSA’s journal, Sean Anthony is mansplaining in more detail. Oh wait, he has a cowriter… a Catherine Bronson. But she’s in second-billing. SEE THE PATRIARCHY IN ACTION

(I did catch sight of Dr Anthony in IQSA 2015 now I think of it. I wonder if that’s what he went to do, to give that talk. If so I’m sorry I missed it. This year I didn’t see him, nor Dr Bronson.)

Early in the Anthony-Bronson article I read this: Most, if not all, of Khan’s general criticisms about the neglect of women’s history and agency in scholarship on the Qurʾān and early Islam is fully justified. Anthony and Bronson didn’t footnote this accusation, which means their readers must take this on faith, or - worse - on consensus-opinion. I am not in this field to take anything on faith. Especially not if it’s an attack on our character.

As for Dr Khan’s character, I note that the two authors are submitting their critique With the Respect Due her, perhaps even All of it. In one paragraph on the second page they hurl terms like “posture of moral superiority”, scholarly “neglect” (repeated), “blithely”, and “egregious case of selection bias”. Given that Khan had made such a show of disliking bias, and given that among the objects of Khan’s neglect are anything written in French (like Dye) and German, the two implicitly add hypocrisy to that list.

As for Anthony and Bronson, I appreciate they didn't pull their punches against one of the sloppiest and smuggiest papers I've ever read. Besides that, though, I’d prefer the authors threw fewer sops to the social-justice jury, at least not unless the former are prepared to back them up. They look like supplicants prostrating themselves before the Caliph. But given that - this afternoon - they've taken that paper down from, maybe they're addressing that with whatever else needs addressing.

posted by Zimri on 16:54 | link | 0 comments

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