This essay introduces the special section “The Politics of Feminist Politics,” which brings together the work of feminist scholars of the Middle East and South Asia to highlight the silences, exclusions, and occlusions that mark the transregional imaginative geographies of both “feminism” and “Islam.” Together, these essays suggest that careful analysis of the languages of justice, forms of social and political life, and embodied realities that belong to particular places and times can unseat the “common sense” of liberal feminist discourse and trouble its universalist claims. These essays track the everyday languages and institutions of governance, policing, and morality by working carefully through diverse fields, including legal cases and reasoning, histories of education, dynamics of marriage, arts of linguistic transformation, politics of religious argument, legitimations of state power, and political economies of labor and housing. They analyze the circulations of terms and bodies in the public sphere and in public space, drawing attention not only to the social exclusions and selective silencings that often attend feminist projects but also to their points of openness and to possibilities for a more inclusive politics.

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