Positioning women within their individual economic situations, identities, families, and geographies, Women in the Middle East examines the experiences of women in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, in Iran, and in all the Arab countries. Keddie discusses the interaction of a changing Islam with political, cultural, and socioeconomic developments. In doing so, she shows that, like other major religions, Islam incorporated ideas and practices of male superiority but also provoked challenges to them. Keddie breaks with notions of Middle Eastern women as faceless victims, and assesses their involvement in the rise of modern nationalist, socialist, and Islamist movements. While acknowledging that conservative trends are strong, she notes that there have been significant improvements in Middle Eastern women's suffrage, education, marital choice, and health.
The authors combine approaches from history, political science, anthropology, international relations, and culturalstudies. Some essays address Iran�s interactions with various Arab and Turkic ethnicities in the region stretching from India to Egypt. Others examine its relations with the West during the Qajar and Pahlavi eras, women's issues, culture inside Iran during the Islamic Republic, and the Shi`ite theocracy of Iran as compared with other Muslim states.