Homa Hoodfar
Sociology and Anthropology
Concordia University


1981 M.A. (Manchester University),
1989 Ph.D. (University of Kent at Canterbury)
Key words:
Iran, Egypt, veil, Middle East, Muslim women, Islamic law, population and family planning

Brief Summary of Research Areas:

Integration of Muslim Women in Canadian Society, (1992-94). This research focuses on (a) the various strategies that Muslim women of various ethnic groups adopt in an attempt to integrate themselves into Canadian educational institutions and the labour market, (b) possible gender role modification and changes in gender relations, (c) the ways in which Muslim women themselves evaluate these changes, and (d) their experiences of formal and informal interaction with members of dominant groups as well as other minorities.

The Role of Women in the Survival Strategies of Low-income Households in Cairo, Egypt, (1983-95). The first phase of this research took place from 1983 to 1986; the second phase took place between 1992 and 1995. The project is a longitudinal study of socio-economic and ideological changes in Egypt as a result of rapid structural adjustment policies implemented in the last decade. The major focus is the variety of responses of low-income Muslim women to structural adjustment policies and socio-economic change.

The Impact of Codification of Muslim Laws on Iranian Women, (1992-95). This research project examines the way in which the codification of Muslim family law and other laws under the Islamic Republic of Iran influences gender relations by defining rights and duties of women within marriage and their families of origin. The study also examines both the social and legal impacts of the introduction of a more Islamic personal status law on women's labour market participation. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying the various strategies adopted by women, individually or collectively, in order to improve their situation.

Current Research Work :


"Devices and Desires: Population Policy and Gender Roles in the Islamic Republic," Middle East Research Report (MERIP) September 24(5), September 1994.

"Situating the Anthropologist: A Personal Account of Ethnographic Fieldwork in Three Urban Settings," in Urban Lives: Fragmentation and Resistance, Henri Lustiger-Thaler and Vered Amit Talai, (eds.).Toronto: McLelland and Stewart Press, Fall 1994.

"The Veil in Their Minds and on Our Heads: The Persistence of Colonial Images of Muslim Women," Resources for Feminist Research 22(1&2):5-18, Fall 1993.

"Feminist Anthropology and Critical Pedagogy: Anthropology of Classrooms' Excluded Voices," Canadian Journal of Education 17(3): 303-320, 1992.

"Return to the Veil: Personal Strategy to Public Participation in Egypt," in Working Women: International Perspectives on Labour and Gender Ideology Nanneke Redclift and M. Thea Sinclair (eds). London: Routledge, 1991.

"Survival Strategies in Low Income Households in Cairo," Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 8(4): 22-41, 1990.

"Patterns of Household Budgeting and the Management of Financial Affairs in a Lower-Income Neighbourhood in Cairo," in A Home Divided: Women and Income in the Third World, Daisy Hilse Dwyer and Judith Bruce, (eds.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.

Teaching Areas:

Anthropology of Development, Anthropology of Gender, Legal Anthropology, Women in Muslim Societies