Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe

Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics

Book 29
Princeton University Press
1
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Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe examines how gender identities were reconfigured in a Bulgarian Muslim community following the demise of Communism and an influx of international aid from the Islamic world. Kristen Ghodsee conducted extensive ethnographic research among a small population of Pomaks, Slavic Muslims living in the remote mountains of southern Bulgaria. After Communism fell in 1989, Muslim minorities in Bulgaria sought to rediscover their faith after decades of state-imposed atheism. But instead of returning to their traditionally heterodox roots, isolated groups of Pomaks embraced a distinctly foreign type of Islam, which swept into their communities on the back of Saudi-financed international aid to Balkan Muslims, and which these Pomaks believe to be a more correct interpretation of their religion.

Ghodsee explores how gender relations among the Pomaks had to be renegotiated after the collapse of both Communism and the region's state-subsidized lead and zinc mines. She shows how mosques have replaced the mines as the primary site for jobless and underemployed men to express their masculinity, and how Muslim women have encouraged this as a way to combat alcoholism and domestic violence. Ghodsee demonstrates how women's embrace of this new form of Islam has led them to adopt more conservative family roles, and how the Pomaks' new religion remains deeply influenced by Bulgaria's Marxist-Leninist legacy, with its calls for morality, social justice, and human solidarity.

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About the author

Kristen Ghodsee is associate professor of gender and women's studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism, and Postsocialism on the Black Sea.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 27, 2009
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9781400831357
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Gender Studies
Social Science / Islamic Studies
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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 Al-Qur'an, the Guidance for mankind, is a unique translation of the Holy Qur'an in contemporary American English. It includes the Biography of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his mission as a Prophet, his ranking as in the human history. Text is paragraphed by theme and theme is written in the margins on each page for easy reference. Its features include - 

(1) Field Testing the Communication of Divine Message: The unique feature of this translation is its field testing for over 3 1/2 years to improve the communication and understanding of the Divine Message. Translation passages were given to the New Muslim and Non-Muslim high school and college students for reading under the supervision of various Ulema (scholars). After reading, the person was asked to explain as to what he/she understood from the passage. If his/her understanding was the same as is in the Arabic Text of the Holy Qur'an then we concluded that we have been successful in conveying the Divine Message properly. If his/her understanding was different than what the Qur'anic verses were stating, we kept on rewording the translation until those verses were understood properly. It was tremendous patience on part of the participants. May Allah reward them all. 

(2) Simplicity: In this translation Simple Language and Direct Approach is used for appealing to the common sense of scholars and common people. 

(3) Understandability: There are no foot notes to refer and no commentary or lengthy explanations to read. All necessary explanations have been incorporated right there in the text with italic type setting to differentiate from the translation of the meanings of Qur'anic Arabic Text. 

(4) Outline of Pertinent Information: Before the start of each Srah, information relating to its Period of Revelation, Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance has been presented as an outline. Then a summary of the preceding events has been tabulated for the reader to understand the histo! rical background to grasp the full meaning of the Divine Message. 

(5) Reviews, Input and Approvals: This project was started in 1991 and initial draft completed in 1994. Then the Translation was sent to different Ulema (Scholars) in Town and throughout United States for their review and input. After their reviews and input it was sent to Jme Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in Egypt, Ummal Qur in Saudi Arabia and International Islamic University in Pakistan for their review, input and approval. This translation was published after their reviews and approvals.

From the cleric-led Iranian revolution to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, many people have been surprised by what they see as the modern reemergence of an antimodern phenomenon. This book helps account for the increasingly visible public role of traditionally educated Muslim religious scholars (the `ulama) across contemporary Muslim societies. Muhammad Qasim Zaman describes the transformations the centuries-old culture and tradition of the `ulama have undergone in the modern era--transformations that underlie the new religious and political activism of these scholars. In doing so, it provides a new foundation for the comparative study of Islam, politics, and religious change in the contemporary world.

While focusing primarily on Pakistan, Zaman takes a broad approach that considers the Taliban and the `ulama of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and the southern Philippines. He shows how their religious and political discourses have evolved in often unexpected but mutually reinforcing ways to redefine and enlarge the roles the `ulama play in society. Their discourses are informed by a longstanding religious tradition, of which they see themselves as the custodians. But these discourses are equally shaped by--and contribute in significant ways to--contemporary debates in the Muslim public sphere.


This book offers the first sustained comparative perspective on the `ulama and their increasingly crucial religious and political activism. It shows how issues of religious authority are debated in contemporary Islam, how Islamic law and tradition are continuously negotiated in a rapidly changing world, and how the `ulama both react to and shape larger Islamic social trends. Introducing previously unexamined facets of religious and political thought in modern Islam, it clarifies the complex processes of religious change unfolding in the contemporary Muslim world and goes a long way toward explaining their vast social and political ramifications.

This compelling ethnography of women working in Bulgaria’s popular sea and ski resorts challenges the idea that women have consistently fared worse than men in Eastern Europe’s transition from socialism to a market economy. For decades western European tourists have flocked to Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches and mountains; tourism is today one of the few successful—and expanding—sectors of the country’s economy. Even at the highest levels of management, employment in the tourism industry has long been dominated by women. Kristen Ghodsee explains why this is and how women working in the industry have successfully negotiated their way through Bulgaria’s capitalist transformation while the fortunes of most of the population have plummeted. She highlights how, prior to 1989, the communist planners sought to create full employment for all at the same time that they steered women into the service sector. The women given jobs in tourism obtained higher educations, foreign language skills, and experiences working with Westerners, all of which positioned them to take advantage of the institutional changes eventually brought about by privatization.

Interspersed throughout The Red Riviera are vivid examinations of the lives of Bulgarian women, including a waitress, a tour operator, a chef, a maid, a receptionist, and a travel agent. Through these women’s stories, Ghodsee describes their employment prior to 1989 and after. She considers the postsocialist forces that have shaped the tourist industry over the past fifteen years: the emergence of a new democratic state, the small but increasing interest of foreign investors and transnational corporations, and the proliferation of ngos. Ghodsee suggests that many of the ngos, by insisting that Bulgarian women are necessarily disenfranchised, ignore their significant professional successes.

Professor Mommy is designed as a guide for women who want to combine the life of the mind with the joys of motherhood. The book provides practical suggestions from the authors' experiences together with those of other women who have successfully combined parenting with professorships. Professor Mommy addresses key questions—when to have children and how many, what kinds of academic institutions are the most family friendly, how to negotiate around the myths that many people hold about academic life, etc.—for women throughout all stages of their academic careers, from graduate school through full professor. The authors follow the demands of motherhood all the way from the infant stages through the empty nest. At each stage, the authors offer invaluable advice and tested strategies from women who have successfully juggled the demands and rewards of an academic career and motherhood.

Written in clear, jargon-free prose, the book is accessible to women in all disciplines, with concise chapters for the time-constrained academic. The book's conversational tone is supplemented with a review of the most current scholarship on work/family balance and a survey of emerging family-friendly practices at U.S. colleges and universities. Professor Mommy asserts that the faculty mother has become and will remain a permanent fixture on the landscape of the American academy.The paperback edition features a new Preface that addresses the public conversation about mothers and work raised in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and Ann Marie Slaughter’s Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. The new Preface also answers frequently asked questions from readers.

This compelling ethnography of women working in Bulgaria’s popular sea and ski resorts challenges the idea that women have consistently fared worse than men in Eastern Europe’s transition from socialism to a market economy. For decades western European tourists have flocked to Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches and mountains; tourism is today one of the few successful—and expanding—sectors of the country’s economy. Even at the highest levels of management, employment in the tourism industry has long been dominated by women. Kristen Ghodsee explains why this is and how women working in the industry have successfully negotiated their way through Bulgaria’s capitalist transformation while the fortunes of most of the population have plummeted. She highlights how, prior to 1989, the communist planners sought to create full employment for all at the same time that they steered women into the service sector. The women given jobs in tourism obtained higher educations, foreign language skills, and experiences working with Westerners, all of which positioned them to take advantage of the institutional changes eventually brought about by privatization.

Interspersed throughout The Red Riviera are vivid examinations of the lives of Bulgarian women, including a waitress, a tour operator, a chef, a maid, a receptionist, and a travel agent. Through these women’s stories, Ghodsee describes their employment prior to 1989 and after. She considers the postsocialist forces that have shaped the tourist industry over the past fifteen years: the emergence of a new democratic state, the small but increasing interest of foreign investors and transnational corporations, and the proliferation of ngos. Ghodsee suggests that many of the ngos, by insisting that Bulgarian women are necessarily disenfranchised, ignore their significant professional successes.

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