Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt

Princeton University Press
Free sample

The emergence and evolution of Egyptian feminism is an integral, but previously untold, part of the history of modern Egypt. Drawing upon a wide range of women's sources--memoirs, letters, essays, journalistic articles, fiction, treatises, and extensive oral histories--Margot Badran shows how Egyptian women assumed agency and in so doing subverted and refigured the conventional patriarchal order. Unsettling a common claim that "feminism is Western" and dismantling the alleged opposition between feminism and Islam, the book demonstrates how the Egyptian feminist movement in the first half of this century both advanced the nationalist cause and worked within the parameters of Islam.
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About the author

Margot Badran is Professor of Women's Studies and History at Oberlin College. A specialist in the Middle East, she translated, edited, and introduced Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, Huda Shaarawi and is coeditor of Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 1, 1996
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400821433
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
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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Noga Efrati outlines the first social and political history of women in Iraq during the periods of British occupation and the British-backed Hashimite monarchy (1917–1958). She traces the harsh and long-lasting implications of British state building on Iraqi women, particularly their legal and political enshrinement as second-class citizens, and the struggle by women's rights activists to counter this precedent. Efrati concludes with a discussion of post-Saddam Iraq and the women's associations now claiming their place in government. Finding common threads between these two generations of women, Efrati underscores the organic roots of the current fight for gender equality shaped by a memory of oppression under the monarchy.

Efrati revisits the British strategy of efficient rule, largely adopted by the Iraqi government they erected and the consequent gender policy that emerged. The attempt to control Iraq through "authentic leaders"—giving them legal and political powers—marginalized the interests of women and virtually sacrificed their well-being altogether. Iraqi women refused to resign themselves to this fate. From the state's early days, they drew attention to the biases of the Tribal Criminal and Civil Disputes Regulation (TCCDR) and the absence of state intervention in matters of personal status and resisted women's disenfranchisement. Following the coup of 1958, their criticism helped precipitate the dissolution of the TCCDR and the ratification of the Personal Status Law. A new government gender discourse shaped by these past battles arose, yet the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, rather than helping cement women's rights into law, reinstated the British approach. Pressured to secure order and reestablish a pro-Western Iraq, the Americans increasingly turned to the country's "authentic leaders" to maintain control while continuing to marginalize women. Efrati considers Iraqi women's efforts to preserve the progress they have made, utterly defeating the notion that they have been passive witnesses to history.

Fourteen centuries of Islamic thought have produced a legacy of interpretive readings of the Qu'ran written almost entirely by men. Now, with Qu'ran and Woman, Amina Wadud provides a first interpretive reading by a woman, a reading which validates the female voice in the Qu'ran and brings it out of the shadows. Muslim progressives have long argued that it is not the religion but patriarchal interpretation and implementation of the Qu'ran that have kept women oppressed. For many, the way to reform is the reexamination and reinterpretation of religious texts. Qu'ran and Woman contributes a gender inclusive reading to one of the most fundamental disciplines in Islamic thought, Qu'ranic exegesis. Wadud breaks down specific texts and key words which have been used to limit women's public and private role, even to justify violence toward Muslim women, revealing that their original meaning and context defy such interpretations. What her analysis clarifies is the lack of gender bias, precedence, or prejudice in the essential language of the Qur'an. Despite much Qu'ranic evidence about the significance of women, gender reform in Muslim society has been stubbornly resisted. Wadud's reading of the Qu'ran confirms women's equality and constitutes legitimate grounds for contesting the unequal treatment that women have experienced historically and continue to experience legally in Muslim communities. The Qu'ran does not prescribe one timeless and unchanging social structure for men and women, Wadud argues lucidly, affirming that the Qu'ran holds greater possibilities for guiding human society to a more fulfilling and productive mutual collaboration between men and women than as yet attained by Muslims or non-Muslims.
From leadership expert, former Navy SEAL, "American Grit" feature player, and author of Worth Dying For: A Navy SEAL's Call to a Nation, Rorke Denver, the bestselling account of how he helped create the U.S. Navy SEALS of today. Rorke Denver trains the men who become Navy SEALs--the most creative problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now. With his years of action-packed mission experience and a top training role, Lieutenant Commander Denver understands exactly how tomorrow's soldiers are recruited, sculpted, motivated, and deployed.

Now, Denver takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. He recounts his experience evolving from a young SEAL hopeful pushing his way through Hell Week, into a warrior engaging in dangerous stealth missions across the globe, and finally into a lieutenant commander directing the indoctrination, requalification programs, and the "Hero or Zero" missions his SEALs undertake.

From his own SEAL training and missions overseas, Denver details how the SEALs' creative operations became front and center in America's War on Terror-and how they are altering warfare everywhere. In fourteen years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leading 200 commando missions, he earned the Bronze Star with V for valor. He has also served as flag aide to the admiral in charge and spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. He recently starred in the film Act of Valor. He is married and has two daughters.

Ellis Henican is a columnist at Newsday and an on-air commentator at the Fox News Channel. He has written two recent New York Times bestsellers, Home Team with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and In the Blink of an Eye with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip.

With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity . Correcting that is my mission here.
My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream.
-Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver
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