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PsychoDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-16-06 01:59 PM
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Professor Reexamines History of Muslim Women
Professor Reexamines History of Muslim Women
http://explore.georgetown.edu/news/?ID=11667

Historical sources need to be reexamined in order to provide a more complete picture of the history of Muslim women, according to a new book of essays compiled by Georgetown University Professor of Islamic History, Law, and Society Amira El-Azhary Sonbol.

In her new book, Beyond the Exotic: Womens Histories in Islamic Societies (Syracuse University Press, 2005), Sonbol brings together essays from 24 different scholars on scripture, literature, art, architecture, discourse analysis and oral tradition, as well as church, archival, and medieval and modern court and legal records to illuminate the history of women in the Islamic world. She argues that old and new historical sources should be approached from different angles with new questions and perspectives in order to provide a more realistic and comprehensive picture of women in Islamic societies.

The deficiencies in historical research allowed for stereotypical images privileging outward manifestations like veiling to give an impression of passiveness and backwardness, Sonbol writes in the books introduction. Exoticising Muslim womenhas meant that they are dealt with outside of general womens history and hence are seen as having little to contribute to the writing of world history or to the answers regarding the life of their sisters worldwide today.




Amira El-Azhary Sonbol is professor of Islamic History, Law, and Society at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is the editor of HAWWA: Journal of the Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, and has published numerous articles and books, including Women of the Jordan: Islam, Labor, and the Law (2003) and Women, the Family, and Divorce Laws in Islamic History (1996). Sonbol is currently spending a year abroad teaching at Georgetowns School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

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Hatalles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-18-06 02:13 PM
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1. Interesting.
So much of Western understanding of Islam and Islamic History is governed by Orientalist scholarship so I'm glad to see a work like this... will definitely look into it. It's also important to recognize how much our beliefs about Muslims and Islam are shaped by our perceptions... Mohja Kahf's "Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque" is another good read.
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