Professor Yuksel Sezgin is an assistant professor and Director, Middle Eastern Studies Programme at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. He is a former fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and currently, serves as a visiting professor at Princeton University's Law and Public Affairs Program (LAPA). Prior to working at the Maxwell School, he taught at the University of Washington, Harvard Divinity School, and the City University of New York. He has held research positions at Princeton University, Columbia University, Bielefeld University, the American University in Cairo, and the University of Delhi. His research and teaching interests include legal pluralism, comparative religious law (Islamic, Jewish and Hindu), and human and women’s rights in the Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is the recipient of American Sociological Association's Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Prize (2014), the American Political Science Association's Aaron Wildavsky Dissertation Award (2008), and the Middle East Studies Association's Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award (2008). He is a member of the executive body of the Commission on Legal Pluralism and the associate editor of the Journal of Legal Pluralism. He has served as a consultant to major international development agencies including the UNDP, UN Women, WHO, and USAID


In this article Professor Yuksel Sezgin will engage the following questions: How do state-enforced Muslim family laws affect the rights and freedoms of Muslim women in Israel and India? Do Muslim women silently accept the oppression and subjugation of their minds and bodies under patriarchy—as is often presented in much of the media? Or do Muslim women devise strategies of resistance? If so, what tactics, particularly in minority settings where public discourse on reform is often dominated by concerns for identity politics rather than concerns for women’s rights and well-being, are they using to navigate the maze of personal status systems? How do women go about changing state-sanctioned interpretations of religious norms and precepts? Are there any best practices? What strategies proved successful for integrating international women’s rights standards (e.g., CEDAW) into religion-based personal status systems?