Cover image for Women claim Islam : creating Islamic feminism through literature
Women claim Islam : creating Islamic feminism through literature
Cooke, Miriam.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge , 2001.
Physical Description:
xxix, 175 pages ; 23 cm
Arab women's literary history. Critical response ; The Gulf War story ; Gendering the Gulf War story ; The Iraqi version ; Migrating stories ; Conclusion -- In search of mother tongues. Assia Djebar's prisonhouse ; Albert Memmi's struggles with his mother ; Abdelkebir Khatibi's bi-langue ; Jacques Derrida : "Le petit juif français d'Algérie" ; Conclusion -- Reviewing beginnings. Islamic feminism ; Assia Djebar ; Fatima Mernissi ; Nawal El Saadawi ; Conclusion -- A Muslim sister. Zaynab al-Ghazali's Muslim Ladies' Association ; Survival in hell ; Signs taken for wonders ; An Islamic feminist mission ; Conclusion -- Multiple critique. Critical networking ; Imageness ; The weight of the veil ; Conclusion -- Changing the subject. Academic politics.

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Item Holds
HQ1170 .C75 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This provocative collection addresses the ways in which Arab women writers are using Islam to empower themselves, and theorizes the conditions that have made the appearance of these new voices possible.

Author Notes

Miriam Cookeis Professor and Director of Asian and African Languages and Literatures at Duke University. She is the author of Women and the War Story(1997) and Gendering War Talk(1993), and co-editor of Opening theGates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing(1990).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Structuring her book around the story of the Gulf War and "the story about the emigrant's experience after leaving the homeland," Cooke (Duke) forcefully argues for an Islamic feminism. The concept is fraught with controversy, but the author builds her case carefully, demonstrating that there can be a feminist movement within Arab countries that is indigenous and not a derivative of Western feminism. This can be realized through a technique she calls "multiple critique," which is a mode of discourse or an oppositional stance whereby an individual can "exploit fissures in the system even while seeming to accede to its traditional norms and expectations." Differing from identity politics, multiple critique is a "fluid discursive strategy" allowing the individual to remain a part of her community while at the same time criticizing it. The data Cooke uses derives from 19th- and 20th-century novels and autobiographies by Arab women. She does not deal with Iran or Pakistan, where there is also oppositional activity on the part of women. Clearly written and well argued, this will be important for large public and academic collections supporting Middle Eastern literature, women's studies, and religious studies at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. W. L. Hanaway emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

1 Arab Women's Literary History
critical response
the Gulf War story
gendering the War Story
the Iraqi version
migrating stories
2 In Search of Mother Tongues: Assia Djebar's prisonhouse
Albert Memmi's struggles with his mother
Abdelkebir Khatibi's bi-langueJacques Derrida
le petit juif francais d'Algerie
3 Reviewing BeginningsIslamic feminism and Assia Djebar and Fatima Mernissi and Nawal El Saadawi
4 A Muslim Sister
Zaynab al-Ghazali's Muslim Ladies' Association
survival in hell
signs taken for wonders
an Islamic feminist mission
5 Multiple Critique
critical networking
the weight of the veil
6 Changing the Subject
Cited Works