Homa Hood­far launches new book

For­mer Con­cor­dia pro­fes­sor talks about women ath­letes in Mus­lim con­texts

The McGill Daily - - Sports - — By Louis Sanger The book is avail­able for free as on on­line e- book at www.wluml.org.

On March 22, Homa Hood­far, a for­mer Pro­fes­sor of An­thro­pol­ogy at Con­cor­dia, cel­e­brated the lon­gover­due launch of her book, Women’s Sport as Pol­i­tics in Mus­lim Con­texts. Fea­tur­ing case stud­ies that ex­am­ine the pol­i­tics of sports from Saudi Ara­bia to Sene­gal and to North Amer­ica, the book ex­plores the role of sports in women’s strug­gle to achieve equal­ity. Ac­cord­ing to its cover, Women’s Sports “pro­vides an [...] anal­y­sis of the brav­ery and cre­ativ­ity ex­hib­ited by Mus­lim women in the realm of sports, which has emerged as a ma­jor realm of con­tes­ta­tion be­tween pro­po­nents of women’s rights and po­lit­i­cal Is­lamist forces in Mus­lim con­texts.”

A col­lec­tion of es­says edited and se­lected by Hood­far, the book was ini­tially re­leased in the U.K. in De­cem­ber 2015, but the April 2016 launch in Canada was post­poned due to Hood­far’s in­car­cer­a­tion in Iran. In early 2016, Hood­far was held for 112 days in Tehran’s Evin prison on re­ported charges of “dab­bling in fem­i­nism.” Thanks to in­ter­na­tional mo­bi­liza­tion, she was re­leased and re­turned to Mon­treal in Septem­ber 2016.

At the launch, Hood­far dis­cussed the par­tic­i­pa­tion and in­clu­sion of Mus­lim women in sports by giv­ing the ex­am­ple of the preva­lence of hi­jab re­stric­tions in many sport fed­er­a­tions, such as the IOC or FIFA. The act of play­ing sports then, ei­ther veiled or not, be­comes a qui­etly po­lit­i­cal act for Mus­lim women. “Quiet pol­i­tics” are some­thing that Hood­far ex­pressed deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for now, cit­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence of in­car­cer­a­tion as proof that “the cost of ac­tively be­ing politi­cized is quite high.”

More­over, Hood­far said that Mus­lim women are us­ing sports to de­mand recog­ni­tion from the so­ci­ety and the state. She gave an ex­am­ple: af­ter the 2016 Olympics, Ay­a­tol­lah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, was ob­li­gated to con­grat­u­late Kimia Al­izadeh, fe­male Taek­wondo medal­ist, along­side her male col­leagues.

At the launch, Hood­far spoke for 30 min­utes be­fore tak­ing ques­tions from a small but fas­ci­nated crowd in Con­cor­dia’s J.W. Mccon­nell Li­brary Build­ing.

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