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Journal of Women's History 12.1 (2000) 191-241
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Authors of unsigned abstracts requested anonymity.
Abstracts of Books
Lila Abu-Lughod, ed. Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998. xi + 300 pp. ISBN 0-691-05791-5 (cl); 0-691-05792-3 (pb).
This is a much-anticipated collection of essays focusing on the relationship between gender and modernity in the Middle East. Each chapter illustrates multiple modes for assessing the imprint of modernizing discourses and projects in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly in Egypt and Iran. Various scholars write within a historical and social-theoretical framework, revealing a historical moment when Middle Eastern men and women debated the process of "remaking women." Invoking postcolonial theory, Marilyn Booth, Mervat Hatem, and Afsaneh Najmabadi, among other authors, call into question such issues as women's public and private space, the development of "feminism" in the Middle East, and the discussion of local versus global politics. Remaking Women successfully challenges the essentialist and reductive correlation among modernity, feminism, progress, and emancipation.------Febe Armanios
Helen Jacobus Apte. Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman. Ed. Marcus D. Rosenbaum. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1998. xx + 222 pp.; ill.; appendixes; no index. ISBN 0-8420-2745-9 (cl); 0-8420-2746-7 (pb).
Apte's grandchildren discovered her diary following the death of her son-in-law in 1995. Her grandson, Rosenbaum, a broadcast and print journalist who has spent much of his career at National Public Radio, edited the diary for publication. Apte lived through many important events of the twentieth century, including the Roaring Twenties (spent in Miami, Florida), the Great Depression, and World War II. The diary offers glimpses into the personal life of a Southern Jewish woman. Apte writes candidly about such topics as love, marriage, and motherhood while her grandson's explanatory essays provide historical context on the difficulties of childbirth at the turn of the century and the attempted assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, among other subjects.------Mary McCune [End Page 191]
Alison Baker. Voices of Resistance: Oral Histories of Moroccan Women. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998. xx + 341 pp.; ill. ISBN 0-7914-3621-7 (cl); 0-7914-3622-5 (pb).
This book centers on interviews with fourteen women involved in the Moroccan independence movement, one-half associated with the nationalist movement and one-half with the armed resistance. Women in each movement challenged gender roles in different ways, and the oral narratives illustrate how their personal lives intersected with political ideology and activities. The author's introductory and concluding sections present the historical and cultural context and discuss the practice of oral history. Photographs of the interviewees and their family members supplement the text.------Pippa Holloway
T. Lindsay Baker and Julie P. Baker, eds. Till Freedom Cried Out: Memories of Texas Slave Life. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997. xxx + 161 pp.; ill. ISBN 0-89096-736-9 (cl).
This volume reprints thirty-three narratives from former Texas slaves who participated in the Federal Writers' Project (FWP). From 1935 to 1939, FWP interviewers in Texas and Oklahoma recorded ex-slaves' memories, employing a set of standardized questions. In addition to these questions, interviewers were free to ask the respondents a variety of additional questions about food, health, medical, and folk practices. The preface to this book places the oral narratives in historical context and addresses the problem of interpreting slave narratives. This heavily illustrated text is a good choice for undergraduate classes.------Caryn E. Neumann
Lois W. Banner. Finding Fran: History and Memory in the Lives of Two Women. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. xiii + 243 pp.; ill. ISBN 0-231-11216-5 (cl).
Banner narrates her life story and that of Fran Huneke (now Noura Durkee), her best friend at a suburban Los Angeles high school during the 1950s, reflecting on their divergent paths. Banner became an academic historian, feminist, and, eventually, a follower of Sufism. Fran abandoned her artistic ambitions, lived at Lama, a New Mexico spiritual community, and...