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Citizenship, Faith, and Feminism

Jewish and Muslim Women Reclaim Their Rights

Jan Feldman

Publication Year: 2011

Religious women in liberal democracies are "dual citizens" because of their contrasting status as members of both a civic community (in which their gender has no impact on their constitutional guarantee of equal rights) and a traditional religious community (which distributes roles and power based on gender).

This book shows how these "dual citizens"--Orthodox Jewish women in Israel, Muslim women in Kuwait, and women of both those faiths in the U.S.--have increasingly deployed their civic citizenship rights in attempts to reform and not destroy their religions. For them, neither "exit" nor acquiescence to traditional religious gender norms is an option. Instead, they use the narrative of civic citizenship combined with a more authentic, if alternative reading of their faith tradition to improve their status.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Series: HBI Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law


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pp. ii

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

I would like to acknowledge my great debt to the Taub Center for Social and Policy Research, especially Laura Brass, for giving me a ‘‘home’’ in Jerusalem; the Hadassah-Brandeis...

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pp. xi-xii

My intent in this book is to reveal commonalities between Jewish and Muslim feminisms. I have no larger agenda. I will not claim that ‘‘if only the women ruled the world all would be well.’’ It strikes me that Arabic and Hebrew share the same name for G-d that translates...

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1 Women & Citizenship

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pp. 1-22

Four Kuwaitis made history in 2009 as the first women elected to the National Assembly. One, who was interviewed for this study, has just challenged an amendment to the 2005 Electoral Law that was introduced by Islamists requiring women to comply with...

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2 Feminisms

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pp. 23-72

Tzlafchad’s daughters understood that prevailing social arrangements are not necessarily eternal or immutable. To believe that they were would underestimate G-d’s love and mercy, which extends to women as well to men. Accordingly, if G-d supported the daughters’ demand...

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3 Kuwait

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pp. 73-108

Situated at the intersection of politics, identity, gender, religion, citizenship, and human rights, women are the best test of the emancipatory power of citizenship. Kuwait’s commitment to democracy and civil rights is being tested by its women citizens with mixed results....

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4 Israel

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pp. 109-152

Israeli women enjoy the same rights of citizenship as men. Gender equality, a norm of Israeli civil society, is imbedded in popular culture and history and accepted by the majority of the population. So why would Israeli women still claim to experience disabilities...

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5 The United States

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pp. 153-200

Jews characterize the United States as a ‘‘country of kindness.’’≥ Prominent American Muslim scholar and activist Muqtedar Khan calls the United States ‘‘dar-ul-amman (a house of peace [order])’’ The United States receives appreciation not so much...


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pp. 201-204


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pp. 205-208


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pp. 209-230


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pp. 231-235

E-ISBN-13: 9781611680119
E-ISBN-10: 1611680115

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: HBI Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and Law