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Postdoctoral Research Project

I am the recipient of the Dutch Research Council grant (NWO) awarded for outstanding researchers. My research, conducted at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), aims to generate a nuanced theorisation of Muslim women’s agency. Titled “Muslim Women on the Front Lines of Social and Political Change: A Case Study of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries,” the research focuses on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries—a neglected region in the Anglo-Saxon social sciences—and engages with Arabic-language scholarship that has been previously overlooked. It advances social scientific understandings of agency, particularly in the fields of gender studies and feminist thought. Moreover, the amplification of women’s diverse experiences and marginalized Arabic scholarship promotes the decolonisation of knowledge production on women, gender, and Islam.

Public Summary: Are Muslim women in the Gulf only interested in the right to drive cars? Or do they also want to sit in the driver’s seat politically and steer their societies towards gender equality and democratization? By looking beyond the clichés, Lana examines women’s life experiences in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to reveal the practical tools employed in their day-to-day struggles. By identifying ‘home-grown’ strategies used to combat patriarchy and religious extremism, this research has the potential to empower Muslim women across the globe.

Graphic Novel

As someone committed to bridging the gap between academia and activism, I have embarked on a new creative collaboration with illustrator Irem Kurt. My goal is to adapt my research findings into a graphic novel that speaks to a wider, younger audience in a fresh and accessible way, using the compelling visual storytelling of the graphic novel medium. The graphic novel aims to empower Muslim youth who find themselves caught between their often-conservative communities and the negative attitudes projected onto them by the wider society, which is rife with Islamophobia. By providing practical tools for self-empowerment, the graphic novel promises to help Muslim youth establish positive and constructive relationships with their environment and society. This innovative project has received a series of prestigious grants, enabling me to fully realize my vision for this vital and timely endeavor.