• Women’s Prayer Space: The Politics of Sex Segregation
    Tutin Aryanti

Tutin Aryanti and Andi Muhlis, "Masjid Gedhe Kauman, the Sultanate State of Yogyakarta" (est. 1773), 2010. Digital Photograph. Courtesy the author

This project investigates the way gender relations are spatialized in the mosques of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where exceptional mosques for the use of women were built in the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. It responds to the global issue of how gendered space contributes to gender relations outside of the non-Western context by questioning not only how gender conceptions dynamically permeate the architectural space of the mosques but also how architectural space helps to shape the larger landscape of gender relations in the Global South. Using data collected through combining ethnographic research, an archival investigation, and architectural documentation, the project argues that the layout of the mosques serves as the spatial translations of the control of gaze upon women and their sexuality that is maintained among Muslims. The control serves as a disciplinary mechanism of spatial and visual segregation that privileges men and posits the major mosque as a male space. Yet despite this apparent discrimination, as this work reveals, segregation can also facilitate women’s access to resources in public space such as the mosque, Islamic knowledge and interpretations, authority, and even religious leadership.

Tutin Aryanti is associate professor of architecture at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia. She completed her doctoral degree in architecture with minor in gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation, entitled “Breaking the Wall, Preserving the Barrier,” was awarded the Best Dissertation in Social Sciences in 2015 by the International Convention of Asia Scholars. Revolving around gender and space and Islamic architecture, Aryanti’s works incorporate architecture with social, cultural issues and methodology to reconstruct architectural history from the previously marginalized users’ perspectives. Aryanti held numerous awards, such as Fulbright PhD Presidential Scholarship, the American Association of University Women International Fellowship and Home Project Grant, and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Graduate Student Fellowship. She is the Regional Advisor for Southeast Asia for the Michigan State University’s “Science, Art, and Faith: Architectural Heritage and Islam” project, funded by Templeton Religion Trust, in 2023.