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MESF Seminar – The Weaponization of Religious Myths: An Ethnography Shi’ite Gendered Narratives

MESF Seminar – The Weaponization of Religious Myths: An Ethnography Shi’ite Gendered Narratives

Event Venue:

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation‚ Deakin University 221 Burwood HighwayBurwood, VIC, 3125, Australia ( Map )

Please join us on Monday 28 August for a MESF seminar by Dr Mariam Farida: “The Weaponization of Religious Myths: An Ethnography Shi’ite Gendered Narratives”. 



Women’s roles and status vary greatly in non-state actors and extremist groups. The discussion surrounding whether women play supportive roles rather than active militant roles is still highly debateable. This research is primarily focused on the weaponization of some religious myths in order to dictate certain gendered narratives to fit specific gender roles- evidently for women to act as co-stars alongside their male counterparts. A key female religious figure in Shi’ism, Zainab, an ideological epicentre that focuses on resistance, persistence, and grief, who became a central role for the religious mobilisation of women in Hizbullah, is the focus of this study. Using ethnographic observation of Ashoura sermons and semi-structured interviews with Lebanese Shi’ite women, the study investigates how the story of Zainab has been successfully weaponized by groups like Hizbullah to cast strategic gender roles. Ultimately, the study will shed light on the relationship between religious stories and their social context as key mobilising factors.  


Dr. Mariam Farida is a lecturer in Security Studies at Macquarie University. Dr. Farida’s work focuses on recruitment, religious mobilisation, and ideology. She has conducted fieldwork into the recruitment of some non-state actors and the transformation of non-state actors from violence to politics. She is the author of Religion and Hezbollah: Political Ideology and Legitimacy (Routledge 2020). Her recent project focuses on the weaponization of religious myths and gendered narratives in Shi’ite Islam. 


This is an in-person event taking place at the Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) from 1:30-3:00pm. 

This event is catered, with lunch being served at 1:30pm sharp. Please RSVP directly to if attending in person for catering purposes. 

There is also the option to join via Zoom: 

Meeting ID: 831 6678 5725 | please email for the password. 


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