Simic on Gender Policies toward Muslim Men in Socialist Yugoslavia and Bulgaria

Friday November 10

2pm to 3pm

(New York standard time)

Zoom registration link

Professor Ivan Simic, Charles University

This talk explores how Muslim men were targeted by a series of interventions aimed to change gender relations within Muslim communities. Yugoslav and Bulgarian communists were led by stereotypes about Muslim men, Muslim families, and Muslim communities, driven by socialist modernity notions. Heavily influenced by Soviet models from Central Asia, Yugoslav and Bulgarian communists aimed to create a homogenous and mobile population that would participate in the socialist project. Some policies that affected Muslim communities were universal for all, whilst some targeted Muslims explicitly. Namely, a series of interventions into Muslim communities started by introducing mandatory elementary education for girls, a ban on underage marriage, and the replacement of the Sharia law with the universal family law. Interventions continued with ban on circumcision, fez, and forced migrations. Muslim men were targeted and blamed for years for any failure of the communist modernising process, although interests of Muslim men were often fragmented – some eagerly supported new gender policies, some just wanted to be left in peace to their lives, and some found ways to resist the changes.

We ask that participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, Prof. Simic will make a short presentation, after which participants will be invited to ask questions based on the paper and presentation. Registered participants will receive a draft of the paper.

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