JMEWS: Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies
Volume 2, Number 3, Fall 2006



    Schayegh, Cyrus.
  • Criminal-Women and Mother-Women: Sociocultural Transformations and the Critique of Criminality in Early Post-World War II Iran
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hijazi, Qudsiyah. Barrisi-yi jara'im-i zan dar Iran.
    • Crime -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Sex role -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Women -- Iran -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
      This article analyzes one of the first book-length Iranian treatises on female criminality, Qadisih Hijāzi's Barrisi-yi jarā'im-i zan dar Irān (1962), to show how in the eyes of contemporary Iranian cultural critics and social scientists, female criminality was prefigured by gender deviance. The "criminal-woman" was a failed "mother-woman": female criminality was seen to be a recent phenomenon, the ultimate result of the presumably negative transformative impact of modern life on gender roles, marriage patterns, and family structures. Hijāzi's premise that modern life is a danger makes her text part of a general critique of the rapid sociocultural transformation of modern urban society, linking it to a presumably biological but essentially social definition of women as mothers.
    Rastegar, Kamran.
  • Trauma and Maturation in Women's War Narratives: The Eye of the Mirror and Cracking India
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    Subject Headings:
    • Badr, Liyanah. Ayn al-mirah.
    • Sidhwa, Bapsi. Ice-candy-man.
    • Women and war in literature.
    • Psychic trauma in literature.
    • Violence in literature.
      A comparative study of Liana Badr's The Eye of the Mirror and Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India shows that these two novels present intriguingly similar feminist frameworks through which the traumas of war and communal violence may be addressed. They do so by erasing the distinction between literary work and critical social history, producing what we may term counterhistories of the Lebanese Civil War and the Partition of India. In both of these novels, a girl upon the verge of sexual maturation sees the eruption of violence in the society around her to be fundamentally analogous to the inherent violence that accompanies the new social role she is being thrust into as a woman—this is achieved through the presentation of the narrative from the character's "naïve perspective." These and the other literary strategies in the texts destabilize what is anticipated in the predominant war narrative, by linking the political, often nationalist violence of these stories to the intimate violence sustaining the structures of patriarchal social institutions within which the characters exist.
    Gray, Doris H.
  • Educated, Professional Women in Morocco and Women of Moroccan Origin in France: Asserting a New Public and Private Identity
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    Subject Headings:
    • Muslim women -- Morocco -- Social conditions.
    • Muslim women -- France -- Social conditions.
    • Women -- Morocco -- Identity.
    • Women -- France -- Identity.
      Women in Morocco and second-generation women of Moroccan origin in France share significant similarities concerning major life issues such as their conception of Islam, legal changes affecting women on both sides of the Mediterranean, and personal and professional issues. A hard demarcation line is often drawn between the Arab/Muslim world and secular Western societies and is drawn into question when minority populations are taken into consideration.

      This is a comparative, qualitative study examining attitudinal changes and discerning cultural trends based on in-depth interviews with samples of young, educated, and professional women in Morocco and in France. The purpose of the comparison was to determine the extent of similarities and differences in attitudes among the samples. The interview schedule focused on three themes: conceptions of Islam, legal Changes in Morocco and in France that impact Muslim women, i.e., the Personal Status Code (moudawana) reform in Morocco, the ban on wearing "overt" religious insignia in public schools in France, and personal and professional goals and challenges. The data analysis shows that the greatest similarities occur among samples and the greatest differences appear within each sample. Overall, conceptions of Islam are marked by a desire for personal interpretation, individual application, and a reading of the Qur'an that emphasizes equality between men and women. The similarities in attitudes can be attributed in large parts to high levels of education in both samples and exposure to global trends.

    Yonah, Yossi.
    Saporta, Ishak.
  • The Wavering Luck of Girls: Gender and Pre-vocational Education in Israel
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    Subject Headings:
    • Vocational education -- Government policy -- Israel -- History -- 20th century.
    • Minority women -- Education -- Israel -- History -- 20th century.
    • Discrimination in education -- Israel -- History -- 20th century.
    • Israel -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
      This research study is a development of our previous study about the pre-vocational training program introduced to the Israeli education system in the 1950s. However, while in the previous study we examined the role this program played in making Israel's ethno-working class, in the present work we examine this program's gender implications. In addition to the role it played in the emergence of the ethno-working class, the program significantly contributed to the reproduction and reinforcement of a gender-based division of labor in Israeli society. This double-edge discrimination (against Mizrahim in general and against Mizrahi girls in particular) presents a special case of exclusionary social practices in the context of the Middle East. It owes its motivating and legitimizing force to social constructions exhibiting a unique reproduction of the dichotomy between the first world (Jews of European origins) and the third world (Jews of Middle Eastern origins). That is, the social categories in which girls and boys are captured, allowing ethnic and gender discrimination of Mizrahim in Israeli society, are grounded in a European symbolic repertoire that traditionally facilitated distorted representation and oppression of the East. However, we argue that although ethnic discrimination in this context was not gender-free, it may have nonetheless promoted the interests of Mizrahi girls, who belonged to the oppressed group. That is, we argue that the very stereotypical conceptions concerning Mizrahi women in Israeli society may have benefited, paradoxically, Mizrahi girls in an educational system characterized by a discriminatory tracking system.

Book Reviews

    Halper, Louise A.
  • Women's Rights and Islamic Family Law: Perspectives on Reform (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Welchman, Lynn, ed. Women's rights and Islamic family law: perspectives on reform.
    • Domestic relations (Islamic law)
    Kaplan, Rachel L.
  • On Shifting Ground: Muslim Women in the Global Era (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Nouraie-Simone, Fereshteh, ed. On shifting ground: Muslim women in the global era.
    • Muslim women -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
    Salamandra, Christa.
  • Women and the Media in the Middle East: Power through Self-Expression (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sakr, Naomi, ed. Women and media in the Middle East: power through self-expression.
    • Mass media and women -- Middle East.
    Bier, Laura.
  • Daughters of the Nile: Photographs of Egyptian Women's Movements, 1900-1960 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wassef, Hind, ed. Daughters of the Nile: photographs of Egyptian women's movements, 1900-1960.
    • Wassef, Nadia, ed.
    • Feminism -- Egypt -- History -- 20th century -- Pictorial works .
    Ghavamshahidi, Zohreh.
  • Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Afzal-Khan, Fawzia, 1958-, ed. Shattering the stereotypes: Muslim women speak out.
    • Muslim women.
    Nassar, Hala Khamis, 1964-
  • Seeds of Corruption, and: Children of the Waters, and: Dunyazad (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mūsá, Sabrì. Seeds of corruption.
    • Moussa, Elizabeth, tr.
    • Sā̄lim, Ibtihāl. Children of the waters.
    • Booth, Marilyn, tr.
    • Telmissany, May. Dunyazad.
    • Allen, Roger M. A., tr.
    • Egypt -- Fiction.
    • Egypt -- Social life and customs -- In literature.

Film Reviews

    Elia, Nada.
  • This Is Not Living, and: Women in Struggle, and: Soraida, A Woman of Palestine (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Arasoughly, Alia, dir. This is not living [film]
    • Khoury, Buthina Canaan, dir. Women in struggle [film]
    • Rached, Tahani, 1947-, dir. Soraida: a woman of Palestine [film]
    • Palestinian Arabs -- Social conditions.
    • Women, Palestinian Arab -- Israel -- Political activity.


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