Sarah Munawar is a Pakistani-Muslim and settler living on and sustained by the occupied and unceded land and waters of the Coast Salish people. She received her Ph.D in political science from the University of British Columbia and is also a political science instructor at Columbia College.
As a primary care-giver, her research focuses on designing an intersectional and de-colonial ethic of care through Islamic thought that centres the epistemic authority of disabled Muslims and care-givers as knowers of the “Islamic” and care-based modes of knowing Islam. Writing from the borderlands, she interrogates the limits of comparative political theory and the colonial politics of recognition as paradigms for cross-cultural inquiry. Instead she offers political theorists, and Muslims, an Islamic-feminist and de-colonial epistemology that prioritizes body-sense, consent-based care, intentionality and collective accessibility in knowledge consumption and knowledge production.
As a Muslim, she asks: how can we re-imagine and re-orient Islamic practices of place-making and interpreting sharia law to align ourselves within the Muslim Ummah, and in relationship with Indigenous peoples, in the global struggle against coloniality, in all of its forms and faces? And as a political theorist, she asks: how do ableist and white supremacist orientations and sensibilities of political theory, as a practice, contribute to the weaponization of care in our knowledge relations? How do we inherit the work of coloniality through knowledge consumption and production and cause harm to the communities we think/live with and the worlds we build through cross-cultural contact?
Whether its inscribing an isnad, or collating a works cited page, Islamic-feminist theorizing requires political theorists, and Muslims, to address and respond to the spectral, flesh and bone, dimensions of knowledge production. This includes being accountable to the worlds within which are knowledge is embedded, the care-work and the care-workers that pave way for us to face the writing table, and the histories of sense-contact by which our traditions are transmitted and inherited. An Islamic ethic of care charges us to be responsible for how our complicity in the violence of coloniality compromises our capacities as witnesses and bearers of truth.
How do we learn about each other? How do we do it without harming each other but with the courage to take up a weaving of the everyday that may reveal deep betrayals? How do we cross without taking over? With whom do we do this work?…How do we practice with each other engaging in dialogue at the colonial difference?Lugones, María. 2010. “Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy25(4): 755.