Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women’s Movement

Citation:

Al-Ali, Nadje. 2000. Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women’s Movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Nadje Al-Ali

Annotation:

Summary:
A considerable literature has been devoted to the study of Islamic activism. By contrast, Nadje Al-Ali's book explores the anthropological and political significance of secular-oriented activism by focusing on the women's movement in Egypt. In so doing, it challenges stereotypical images of Arab women as passive victims and demonstrates how they fight for their rights and confront conservative forces. Al-Ali's book also takes issue with prevailing constructions of 'the West' and its perceived dichotomous relation to 'the East'. The argument is constructed around interviews which afford fascinating insights into the history of the women's movement in Egypt, notions about secularism and how Islamist constituencies have impacted on women's activism generally. The balance between the empirical and conceptual material is adeptly handled. The author frames her work in the context of current theoretical debates in Middle Eastern and post-colonial scholarship: while some of the ideas are complex, her lucid style means they are always comprehensible; the book will therefore appeal to students, as well as to scholars in the field. (Summary from Cambridge University Press)


Table of Contents:
Introduction

1. Up Against Conceptual Frameworks: Post-Orientalism, Occidentalism and Presentations of the Self

2. Contextualizing the Egyptian Women's Movement

3. Self and Generation: Formative Experiences of Egyptian Women Activists

4. Secularism: Challenging Neo-Orientalism and ‘His-Stories’

5. From Words to Deeds: Priorities and Projects of Contemporary Activists

6. A Mirror of Political Culture in Egypt: Divisions and Debates among Women Activists

Conclusion: ‘Standing on Shifting Ground’

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Political Participation, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2000

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