Gendering the Middle East: Emerging Perspectives

Deniz Kandiyoti, the author of this book, provides an overview of the developments that have taken place in feminist scholarship. She also evaluates how feminism incorporates into the Middle East studies and to what extent (Kandiyoti 1996). Feminist scholarship in the West and the Middle East take different paths; Middle East studies mainly consist of agendas that are generated by feminism criticism (Eickelman 1998). One of the most prominent features of erudition in the Middle East is that it has changed against what is considered as the background that makes politically active views and emotionally charged reflection on political events that are significant and points which exert a powerful influence. Studies have shown that the 1967 defeat of the Arabs in the sixty-day war against Israel is one of the moments that prompted critical self-reflection among the scholars in Arab. Similarly, the onset of the Islamic Republic of Iran delivered alternative platform for discussion and self-reflection not only for the Iranian scholars but on a broader perspective of feminists and researchers.

There were waves associated with movements for social amendments and modernization during that period of post-colonial. During this period, there was an argument rather than intuition that struck between Turkey, Iran and Egypt concerning women issues. They came up with a framework for such kind of discussions. Women in the society have been placed in positions that indicate they are not adored and recognized (L-Ali 2002).

Writing Women’s Worlds

This is about conservations, essays, arguments, and songs that women shared amongst them in the Bedouin community in Egypt. What people converse with one another has so much richness in them? Abu-Lughod shared a lot with the people from his community in Egypt by letting them know that there are limitations of the standard anthropological monograph no matter how well-written they might be written (1993). He wonders if there exists a style of ethnographic writing that captures better how lives are lived. The author majorly discusses the voice of a woman and not men. In the 1980’s feminist scholarship faced critiques from within. For instance, many women groups such as the Third World Women, African-Americans, lesbians and others were not taken into consideration when it comes to developing a theory on women. As a result, they were excluded from participating in many tasks.

Situations we find ourselves in and the problems we address should be the major issues that define our value and place of the different styles we use in writing about societies (Salzman 2000).  Abu-Lughod finds it brilliant to be particular rather than generalizing issues so that micro-processes can have the privilege to be attention over the macro-processes (1993). He argues that analysts have the habit of generalizing micro-interactions just the same way social scientists analyze global interactions. Anthropologists have reasons to be cautious of the aspect of generalization. One, it is an unavoidably a language of power as part of the conversation of objectivity and expertise. Another reason is that it encourages the creation of cultures. There is a likelihood of producing general ethnographic descriptions of what people believe in, conflict of interest and their historical circumstances.

In conclusion, the comparison between the two ethnographies is that in writing women’s worlds, the author does not present a system on the logic of how social life works while in the Gendering the Middle East article, the author to some extent tried to cover women and their social lives.






Abu-Lughod, L 1993, Writing women’s worlds: Bedouin stories, University of California Press, Berkeley.

Eickelman, DF, & Eickelman, DF 1998, The Middle East and Central Asia: An anthropological approach, Prentice Hall, New York.

Kandiyoti, D 1996, Gendering the Middle East: emerging perspectives, Syracuse University Press, New York.

L-Ali, NS 2000, Secularism, gender, and the state in the Middle East the Egyptian women’s movement, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Salzman, P 2000, Early modern women’s writing an anthology, 1560-1700, Oxford University Press, Oxford [England].

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