Women Creating Change

Previous Pause Next
1 of 5

Women Creating Change

Women Creating Change (WCC) draws together distinguished feminist scholars from across Columbia to focus on contemporary global problems affecting women and on women’s roles in addressing those problems. At the heart of WCC are working groups – scholars, students, practitioners, and socially engaged artists (filmmakers, dramatists, photographers) who meet in New York and at Columbia’s Global Centers with partners from across the world. Promoting networks of experts and activists that cross national and disciplinary borders, WCC envisions ethical and viable solutions to urgent problems concerning women, gender, and inequality. It also engages with other global networks and groups working to raise awareness of these problems, on campus and beyond, and is committed to the pursuit of social justice and a democratic future. WCC pursues research, teaching, writing and collaborative work that is necessarily interdisciplinary as well as comparative and transnational and that benefits from the rich resources and global perspective afforded by the Center for the Study of Social Difference (CSSD) and by Columbia University’s Global Centers.

Current Projects

Over the past two decades, women’s activism has taken creative new forms across the Muslim world. Working within the frame of Islamic piety and engaging fully with the Muslim tradition, women have been deliberately distancing themselves from the largely secular feminist projects of social reform, legal rights, or empowerment-through-development that had dominated the social field of women’s activism in most post-independence nations across the Muslim world. Efforts by women to work within an explicitly religious framework in order to transform society and participate more fully in public debates have influenced state policy in a number of ways. This group explores the divergences and points of contact between the flourishing work of those termed “Islamic feminists” and those who might best be called “Islamist women,” and evaluates the academic research used to promote the social inclusion and wider political transformation of women in the Islamic world.

Photo by Fatma Çelik“Women Mobilizing Memory” focuses on the political stakes and consequences of witnessing and testimony as responses to historical trauma. It probes how individual and collective testimony and performance can establish new forms of cultural memory and facilitate social repair. Using gender as an analytic lens, this project explicitly explores women's acts of witness and the gendered forms and consequences of political repression and persecution.

How are gender relations impacted by material impoverishment and social segregation? Why do women suffer disproportionately from the social hazards of urban informality? This project addresses the global slum as the product of a complex interplay between the political economy of urban space, and the spatialization of social difference, especially gender/sexuality. Our project is especially interested in querying new aspirations around gender and consumption, the gender of poverty, new formations of informal labor and sex work, and emergent sites of violent conflict as these are remaking gendered relations of power.

Social Rights After the Welfare State explores the implications of the declining welfare state for American politics, gender and race relations, and the future of American democracy. Some of the questions the working group will explore include: What will replace the welfare state? Is the idea of government support for social responsibility at a dead end? Is a continuing democracy threatened by limits on social rights? Will we see increased emphasis on marriage and family as the source of economic support?