Western policy discourse uses girls’ education as a marker of modernity. Countless nongovernmental organizations across the policy sphere, such as the Malala Fund, promote girls’ education as a catchall solution for countering extremism and developing the Global South. In Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects, Shenila Khoja-Moolji problematizes this discourse by locating it within a colonial framework that views women and girls as neither subjects nor objects of reform, but as symbolic proxies for their brown and black communities. While she opens with a discussion of neoliberal and colonial actors, Khoja identifies women’s and girls’ education as a discursive space where a wide range of actors promoted their social projects throughout 20th century. She builds on scholarship about colonial and Western discourses on Muslim women by focusing on debates internal to Muslim society, tracking how transnational, state, and local forces have intertwined to produce female subjectivities—citizen subjects, gendered subjects, worker subjects, and religious subjects—in British India and present-day Pakistan.
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