Through an analysis of the stoning trial of Amina Lawal, a peasant woman from Northern Nigeria, for committing adultery, Dr. Eltantawi will analyze the history and present tense symbolic value of sharia in Northern Nigerian society, paying special attention to the theological history of stoning in Islam and the role of gender and the western reaction to Amina Lawal’s case.
Dr. Sarah Eltantawi is a scholar of Islam. She is Member of the Faculty in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA (Asst. Prof), and a Research Scholar at the Middle East Center of the University of Washington. She earned her PhD in the Study of Religion in 2012 from Harvard University, where she was the Jennifer W. Oppenheimer Fellow and Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has academic fellowships at Brandeis University, UC Berkeley, and at the Forum Transregionalle at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin as well as the Freie Universität in Berlin. She obtained an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a BA in Rhetoric and English literature from UC Berkeley. Her forthcoming book Sharia on Trial: Northern Nigeria’s Islamic Revolution (University of California, 2017), examines why Northern Nigerians took to the streets starting in 1999 to demand the reimplementation of sharia law. Dr. Eltantawi is currently at work on a new book that takes up the rise of the of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1928 – the present, focusing on the question of the group’s “political theology” and its place in traditions of political theory. Dr. Eltantawi has also published on issues ranging from early Shi’ite jurisprudence to perceptions of “post-modernity” in Nigeria to the revolution in Egypt. Eltantawi is on the steering committee for the Contemporary Islam and Politics and Religion Sections of the American Academy of Religion, and is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for Humanities Washington, a National Foundation for the Humanities sponsored organization dedicated to fostering critical thinking in the state of Washington.